Dorcas employee Anneke Schaap recently met granny Hanijah in Egypt. It turned out to be an important meeting and it became clearly demonstrated the impact of the Adopt a Granny programme in the lives of the elderly. Anneke is happy to share her experiences with us:
I have read many inspiring stories about the elderly who take part in the programme. I am grateful that I could meet several grannies and that I could witness the impact of the programme in their lives and on community they live in.
Our local partner told us they support 54 grannies in this village. One of them is Hanijah. When we arrive at her place, the seventy year old lady is waiting for us at the door. Hanijah is receives us in her home and seems a bit shy. I notice how dark it is. There is a large wooden bench against the wall and a bed on the other side. On the walls are portraits of Jesus and other saints. I didn’t see a kitchen. Hanijah tells us: ‘I was 33 years old when my husband died. He had been a farmer’. The couple had three children; two daughters and a son, who are now living in surrounding villages. Hanijah’s son has four kids who regularly visit their grandmother.
Thanks to the project, Hanijah has access to medical care. ‘I had an eye problem’ she told us. Now that she receives medication, food and clothes, Hanijah can get by well. She seems healthy and thankful, but lonely at the same time. The partner organisation visits her on a regular basis and she is aware that she is being sponsored – that someone in the Netherlands cares for her. Hanijah often visits church activities. These, and other weekly activities are organised by the partner and they are meant to connect the elderly with each other and fight the loneliness that many people experience. The community is involved in the process and the Adopt a Granny programme shows them how to take care of the seniors in the village.
Dorcas supports approximately 5,400 elderly in ten countries. The projects are initiated local partners, such as churches. These local partners know the community and know what needs there are. In order to assess which grannies need help most, Dorcas looks at their age, income and social setting, partnering with the local government to find the right people.
Our project evaluations show that 75 percent of African elderly and 79 percent of Eastern European elderly feel less depressed and lonely since they joined the programme. 83 percent of African and 93 percent of Eastern European elderly feel physically stronger because of the nutritional support. Genuine interest in people goes much further than material help. Dorcas does not just drop off some food and leaves, but strives to establish real connection with the elderly and the community. The aim is to make the project have an impact on the generations to come.
02 February 2016