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Timion – A Helping hand for Bay’s kids with disabilities

20 February 2018

Attempts to fix the troubled Worker’s Compensation Fund are finally bearing fruit. Photo by Masixole Feni.

WHAT started off as a small project in a couple’s backyard is now a well-established non-profit organisation, which has helped hundreds of disabled children in Nelson Mandela Bay and Uitenhage by manufacturing and distributing high-quality handmade wooden disability equipment free of charge to families from impoverished backgrounds.

Timion was started in November 2006 by Swiss orthoptist Daniel Meyer and his South African wife and physiotherapist Anika.

They met while working with children with disabilities in Sierra Leone and Iraq. “Timion is a Greek word meaning ‘precious’ or ‘especially loved’.

“It is a word that also represents the heart of the NPO and its team that specialises in the holistic support of caregivers with children that have cerebral palsy,” Meyer said.

The organisation, which was started by the pair using their small bathroom as a workspace, now has a strong team of 11 members, which include professional therapists, counsellors and carpenters who work together, not only to handcraft the equipment, but also to visit the children at their homes to issue the equipment alongside supporting the families on how to help their child.

“Initially we would visit the children only at the local hospitals and clinics, however, we decided to change our approach as this kept us from knowing the real circumstances of the families.”

Meyer explained that these families live with incredible challenges, of which transport and travelling are but some of the many difficulties they have to deal with every day.

“Taxis often charge them extra for their children or refuse to transport the much-needed wheelchair or seating device.

“This leads to help and resources being inaccessible to the families and caregivers often have to deal with the emotional and physical weight of their child in unsupported isolation,” he said.

Timion recently hosted a 10-year anniversary celebration at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton. “The event was in celebration of what God has done in and through this ministry and to give him the glory for all that has been achieved,” Meyer said.

The anniversary also allowed a platform to look back at the last 10 years and see how Timion has grown, “from two people to a permanent staff of 11, from a bathroom as a work space to a workshop spanning seven garages and from seeing families weekly at clinics to roughly visiting six to eight homes daily.”

He pointed out, however, that the focus of the event was not the practical growth of the organisation but rather gratefulness for the lives of the 1 000 plus children that the company has helped over the last 10 years.

Thandi Setokoe-News24

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