Andries Olivier was a Quadriplegic, totally paralysed from the neck down. An avid draughtsman, Andries successfully negotiated with the Durbanville council for a piece of land and drew up plans for a self-help centre. He founded a house at 42 Gerryts Street De Kuilen Kuils River in November 1994 which eventually provided accommodation for five quadriplegics.
His ultimate goal was to establish a house for fellow quadriplegics but unfortunately did not see his vision materialise due to his premature death on 1 February 1998 after undergoing an unsuccessful kidney operation.
The Quadriplegic Association of the Western Cape and his very good friends Danny and Alta Retief made it their goal to see their friend’s dream become reality and continued the project of building a house for quadriplegics in the Durbanville area. The Durbanville municipality donated a piece of land to the association which enabled them to start building in 1995 but construction stopped for several years due to insufficient funds. Due to government funding building work resumed in 2000 and the House was officially opened on 29 August 2001.
Resident and friend of Andries, Martin Sodoms decided to name the Centre as it is officially known, Andries Olivier Durbanville Quadriplegic Centre (aka House Andries Olivier)
Self Help Centre
Some forms of Disabilities have Organizations, that start and finance homes to cater for some of it’s members. An example of this are the self-help centres, sometimes called “Quad Homes”, which house Quadriplegics and Paraplegics. These are run with the assistance of the QuadPara association of South Africa and the Provincial version of the QuadPara association that the Home resides in.
These self-help centres are managed by the residents who are responsible for all aspects of the running of these houses. Each resident in the house has duties and responsibilities and the residents work together to ensure the success and sustainability of the house.
The self-help centres employ staff who are trained to take care of the residents day-to-day needs. Each self help centre has a kitchen which provides for the dietary requirements of the residents. The self-help centres have wheelchair accessible vehicles which provide transport for the residents.
These houses receive very little funding from the government and depend on various initiatives to raise funds Living in a self-help centre allows the residents to take control of and be responsible for their lives. It comes with a huge amount of responsibility and it is a lot of hard work to manage and sustain the self-help centres. The residents live in what is basically a communal home for wheelchair users and combine their various skills to ensure the smooth running of the self-help centre.
House Olivier offer full-time accommodation and care to adult quadriplegics and paraplegics. Most of our residents are people who became wheelchair users as a result of a catastrophic spinal cord injury at some stage in their lives.
Where we are different from other facilities is that the centre is run by the residents themselves. We do not have a matron, nursing sister or manager. Each resident has an important role regarding the management and day-to-day running of the house for which they must take full responsibility. An idea of some of the portfolios are: staff representative, kitchen representative, person in charge of maintenance, person in charge of the garden, person in charge of dealing with the Department of Social Development, person in charge of the vehicles etc. Each resident serves on the management committee which meets once a month. There are a few volunteers from the community on the management committee as well but by and large the major/important decisions are made by the residents.
In addition to the above all residents are expected to play a major part in fundraising initiatives. The reality is that our running costs exceeds our monthly budget. We have a monthly shortfall of around 25%
Involvement in both of the above is not negotiable, each resident MUST be very involved otherwise the centre will face definite closure. Working as a team has helped the residents who stay in the centre achieve a real level of independence and integration into the community.
A few examples of the personal growth of some of the residents is: 3 residents are mouth painters whom are members of The Mouth And Foot Painters Association and have collectively painted well over a 1000 paintings over the past 2 decades. 2 other residents have full-time jobs, one at The Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre and the other as the Project Manager at QAWC. Most of the residents has at some point done some form of studies or have it planned as part of their independent development.
Being a part of AODQC has given the residents a second chance at living and not just existing. For this reason every resident has no issue with doing the work required to keep the doors of our centre open.
Durbanville Quad Centre
Please feel free to visit us anytime at 18 Hafele Road, Durbanville, 7550. If you would like more information about The Durbanville Quad Centre, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org