Thursday, 28 June 2012

Khayalethu Home of Love and Care in rural KZN - before and after

Biogas BiogasPro Clinic CSI CSR khayalethu KZN

 Khayalethu Home of Love and Care in rural KZN - before and after

Charl de Winnaar, MD of Ukuthemba and project manager of the Khayalethu Home of Love and Care construction, writes about the project

The Khayalethu Home of Love and Care was originally housed in a structure used as a tribal court until it was donated for use as a facility to house people with physical and mental disabilities.

It was a 2 bed-roomed house and eventually housed 49 people with different disabilities and health needs who are functionally dependant. It was run by 16 female volunteers who work day and night shift but had no dedicated accommodation, sleeping on the floor when required.

The volunteers also offer home-based care to other people in need. They travel within the village, offering support and transport the people who need medical care to a local clinic, a kilometre away transporting them on their backs or in wheel chairs. 

The facility does not receive a State subsidy. The Mayor of Hibiscus Municipality and the volunteers applied to the Department of Mineral Resources for assistance. The assistance sought was in the form of a larger building  to accommodate the residents and staff as well as for the funding of the consumables needed to care for the patients. Also in the course of the ongoing engagement with the caregivers of the Khayalethu Home, the  Steering Committee identified a host of other needs, including the provision of Health Services, Registration of the Centre as a recognised facility, vocational training, registration of residents for social disability grants and nutrition.

While the needs of Khayalethu are varied and great, Ukuthemba  was only focused on the physical construction of the building of the new Khayalethu Home . The tight timelines and strict budget disqualified traditional construction methods, but Ukuthemba was able to counter these by virtue of its alternative construction system using its Structurally Insulated Panels(SIP). Ukuthemba, through their appointed Master Contractor, GreenbuildSA Pty Ltd (GBSA), were able to complete the building within the time frame and come in under budget. The panels are well insulated, structurally strong and can be erected far quicker than brick and mortar. A 40 m² structure can be erected in a day if the slab and services are already in place.

The company agreed to complete the Project at cost, based on the fact that the Centre would showcase the SIP building system which Ukuthemba promotes. The centre ended up costing just over R 9 million with savings of just over R 2 million through consultants and suppliers reducing their charges. 

The centre can now accommodate 50 persons comfortably and service the needs of 110 outpatients through a 230 m2 dedicated wing of the building. A landscape budget was included to create a green environment which will have a strong aesthetic impact and a beneficial effect on the residents. Gardening can also be used as a therapeutic aid. 

To save electricity and reduce running costs the following sustainable technologies were included:

  • Solar water heaters
  • Solar lighting outside
  • LED lights throughout the building
  • Rain water Harvesting -   a total of 14 X 5000 Litre tanks have been installed 
  • Greywater system recycles all grey water for use in irrigation
  • BiogasPro digesters with a total capacity of 30 000 litres. These low-maintenance digesters will capture all black water (sewage from toilets), consume all solids and discharge water which has been filtered through 5 tanks and has 90 % of  pathogens removed. They will generate an estimated 5-10 kg of Biogas per day equal to 20-24 hrs of cooking time on a normal gas plate providing  the energy required for the daily cooking for 50 people.  They also reduce load on Septic Tanks as they digest all solids reducing energy demand and costs.·          

In keeping with the name of the home, “The Khayalethu Home of Love and Care”, Ukuthemba have tried to leave patients and staff with a building that is as self-sustaining as possible, saving them money daily as they try to put as much of their budget towards patient care as possible.

Marisa Naude