Ry-Ma-In was the first home of its kind.
A Brief Account of the History of Ry-Ma-In Self -Help Centre
In the mid 1970’s Chantelle Fouché, a Springbok trampolinist, fractured her neck while practising and was left a quadriplegic (a person paralysed from the neck down). While in hospital, Chantelle and her quadriplegic friends realised that they had nowhere to go when discharged. The options they had were either old age homes or institutions where they would have no say in the course of their lives. They were young and they were by no means willing to be dictated to! There and then the idea of quads being in control of their own lives, was born. This was a first in South Africa, but ironically, in line with our modern day constitution.
The idea was exciting and with the help of parents and friends a house was bought and made wheelchair friendly. Staff had to be employed and trained from the very start, members of the public were very involved; thrilled by the idea! The public is still very much involved with us and we have many friends to whom we are grateful.
In the early days residents had to share bedrooms, but this changed when a second house was bought with the help of the local Dutch Reformed Church.
The residents, however, soon found out that the hardest nut to crack was that of fundraising. They had to obtain a fundraising number and fundraising itself was not that easy, either.
To help solve this problem they opened a home industry. Bi-annual Fêtes as well as ladies teas were introduced. Funds were also obtained from Ithuba, and they were also granted a small state subsidy. Letters were sent out to various potential donors.
Besides fundraising they also had to attend to the general running of the home. Groceries had to be bought, the gardens had to be kept and staff rosters had to be drawn up. They elected a small Management Committee which consisted of a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson, a Treasurer, and a secretary to supervise these tasks. They also appointed a full-time housekeeper, to supervise the cooking and cleaning of the home.
Still later an office lady was employed to assist with administrative tasks. They bought a minibus of which the passenger seats were removed. They entered the vehicle in their wheelchairs by using ramps, and remained seated in their wheelchairs for trips. Further down the line a full-time driver was employed.
Years came and went and Chantelle and her house mates had long since passed on. There were many changes to our home. For one, we opened our doors to all races. Welcoming paraplegics (people paralysed from the waist down), is another.
Fundraising has also changed. The home industry and fêtes made way for a charity shop and Ithuba was replaced by the National Lottery Commission. The ladies tea and subsidy from the Department of Social Development, however, remain intact. Fundraising is still by far the hardest nut to crack.
Administration tasks and attending to the paper trail became more complicated.
We have become more independent though we have fewer residents. Yet our objectives remain the same: To give quadriplegics and paraplegics the change to be in charge of themselves, while leading meaningful lives!
The main GOALS of the centre are to:
-provide accommodation to quad and paraplegics of all races
-transport our residents
-provide 24-hour care and support for the spinally cord injured and other individuals
-train and empower
-create jobs by teaching them to take control of their own lives as well as our centre.
In addition to this we reach out to our communities and to quad and paraplegics in the community to support them as well. We also do talks at schools, churches, youth groups, etc. to raise awareness regarding spinal injuries.
In order to obtain all this, we need the support of the community.