Mama Angel brings life to Vita Nova

AIMING HIGH: A happy, well-integrated group at Vita Nova Centre. © Sowetan.
AIMING HIGH: A happy, well-integrated group at Vita Nova Centre. © Sowetan.

Mama Angel recently donated blankets to Vita Nova Centre in Springs, Ekurhuleni, to ward off the winter chill.

The centre was established in 1977 to cater for the needs of children and adults suffering from cerebral palsy.

Vita Nova means New Life and this is what is offered to all who live at the centre and those who attend daily.

The centre originally catered exclusively for children and adults whose condition excluded them from a "normal" education or even a place in a "special school". During 1999 the centre's constitution was amended and as a result a wider range of disabilities and conditions are now catered for.

The centre has 102 mentally disabled, cerebral palsied and HIV-Aids children that are cared for, with 78 full-time staff members, three qualified nurses, a qualified sister and a registered nurse. The residents are aged between 12 months and 60 years and 67 of them do not have parents or any other family members.

At Vita Nova the emphasis is on developing whatever skills the individual has, with special emphasis on those skills needed for the enjoyment of a happy, meaningful life. Social skills, which enable those at the centre to form a happy well-integrated group, are encouraged.

The "Baby" hostel cares for children up to 18 years and provides care 24 hours a day.

A range of activities is undertaken, with emphasis on toilet training, mobility, speech, hygiene and behaviour.

The "Bunny" hostel caters for the needs of profoundly cerebral palsied residents of all age groups. Stimulation is provided for these residents and every effort is made to ensure that they reach their maximum potential.

The men and women's senior hostel caters for the needs of the more able-bodied residents over 18 years. Full residential accommodation is provided. Most residents share a bedroom with a friend.

A house mother/ father is accommodated in a flat attached to each hostel to ensure a high degree of supervision.

The most important thing to remember is that you don't "catch" cerebral palsy from another person and you don't develop it later in life.