Medical students from the University of the Free State are using their extra time to give back to the community.
As part of their medical training, they are required to do community service the faculty allocates to them at certain Non-Governmental Organisations around Bloemfontein.
One of the groups was placed at Ons Kinderhuis, a children’s home housing children from the ages of one year to 18 years old who have suffered severe and traumatic forms of abuse or are from underprivileged backgrounds.
“We are required to do a needs assessment and come up with ways in which we can improve the standard of living of the children, while simultaneously leaving them with something that will sustain them in the long run,” said group leader, Reagile Kgasoe.
They held very informative discussions with the house mothers and primary care-takers of the children. During the discussion, they aimed to equip the house mothers with the necessary skills they thought might be useful if they happen to find themselves in emergency situations where a child might be seriously injured.
The students had a fun health day for the children on 21 March 2018 from 08:00 to 17:00. The day included teaching the children about basic hygiene practices, the importance of exercising and discussing various health topics. Children each received a plate of food and concluded the day with a movie night.
The group was also sponsored by various businesses with paint, sporting equipment and various other necessities.
“We have learned about the past experiences of the children and how strong and courageous they are and the things they had to go through to end up at the orphanage. Their day-to-day challenges in the orphanage and the coping mechanisms that some of them have adopted to try and lead a normal or better life from what they were accustomed to before, were also noticed,” said Kgasoe.