23 August 2018

Phila means’ to be in good health’.

Sonke speaks to the concept of ‘togetherness’.

Phila Sonke is all about being well together, as a community.

The Phila Sonke Wellness Initiative funds public-private partnerships that promote the bringing of wellness to communities.

I cannot be well, unless we are all well.

Phila Sonke Wellness Initiative (PSWI) is a registered non-profit company operating in Dobsonville Soweto. It was founded by Dr Thabiso Mmoledi and a team of private health providers (City Of Johannesburg Nursing Services, Ekhaya Health & Fitness, McCulloch Harrison & Partners and Utho Ngathi Disability Projects) who believed they could be part of bridging the gap between public and private healthcare services and in doing so, bring wellness back to the Dobsonville community.

PSWI connects accredited private healthcare providers, with persons with disabilities (adults) and funds their broad healthcare rehabilitation needs of medical management, nursing care, home-based visits, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services, on a low-cost basis. Through this CSI funding model, lives of persons with disabilities are being restored, patients are returning to their work places and the general burden of caring for a family member with a disability is being lifted off the shoulders of families in Soweto.

One such story is this…

It was two years ago that 27 year old Siphiwe had a stroke, following a motor vehicle accident. He is the sole provider for his wife and child and lives in Dobsonville, Soweto. When Siphiwe first came to Dobsonville Stadium, he needed assistance to walk and was unable to speak more than a few words. He struggled to recall information and do simple tasks without help from others. Siphiwe was previously working as a driver and due to the magnitude of his injuries, was unable to return to work after the accident. After receiving intensive rehabilitation from the PSWI service providers, Siphiwe is now able to speak in full sentences and walk safely on his own. He has recently started his own business in Soweto, running a car wash facility where he is able to draw an income and support his wife and family once again. Siphiwe is a prime example of how disability does not always need to result in an end to an individual’s quality of life and role in society. This is one of the many success stories that we are blessed to have been a part of.

With the tremendous support of Stadium Management South Africa and the City Of Johannesburg, the healthcare providers accredited with PSWI have worked tirelessly, over many years, to provide low-cost healthcare services from the Dobsonville Stadium. In the last three years some of our achievements have included:

  • Free medical screening and management of hundreds of patients with chronic illness by Dr Mmoledi
  • Over 1500 active members now making use of gym facilities at Ekhaya Health & Fitness.
  • 4600 therapy sessions have been delivered by McCulloch Harrison & Partners to over 300 individuals needing Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy.
  • Nurses from the City Of Johannesburg screen and care for more than 15 patients a day for chronic illnesses such hypertension, diabetes and HIV.
  • Utho Ngathi Disability Projects have launched numerous disability and community inclusion awareness campaigns, have provided more than 500 persons with disabilities home-based care across South Africa and Zambia, and have built an inclusive Vegetable Farming Project in Soweto that provides employment and income for persons with disabilities.

This work has also been strongly supported by the Wits University Physiotherapy Department, under the leadership of Associate Professor Hellen Myezwa and Associate Professor Aimee Stewart, who have been instrumental in establishing a data capturing system and designing a community profiling research project as well as providing physiotherapy students to assist in designing evidence-based exercise programs for clients with chronic conditions.

PSWI are celebrating the launch of their new project, “Bounce-Back-Journeys”. Funded through a generous CSI donation by Stadium Management South Africa, PSWI Bounce-Back-Journeys will co-ordinate and fund an intense, year-long rehabilitation package for 10 persons with disabilities living in Soweto, with the ultimate purpose being to see those persons, or their caregiving family members, able to return to active employment again. The rehabilitation program will fund the provision of free medical and nursing care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social work services, psychological support and home-based care and education, and equipment, where necessary.

Unlockd, a youth talent development business that prepares young job seekers to kick-start their careers, will be partnering with PSWI to ensure that individuals, and families affected by devastating disability, are able to Bounce Back and become active participants in our South African economy again.

If you know someone who lives in Soweto and is living with a disability and currently unemployed, or has a family member who is in need to be provided with care for their family member with a disability and therefore cannot work, please email your story to info@philasonke.org and tell us why you should be considered for the PSWI Bounce-Back-Journey program.