Beit-ul-Aman is the only Muslim institution in the Western Cape that caters for the frail and elderly in the community. It is home to approximately 70 residents, most of them needing 24/7 medical and personal care.
In its 40 years of existence the Home has had 8 Chairpersons, namely Mr Taliep Sydney, Mr Armien Fayker, Mr Achmat Abrahams, Mr Noor Moerat, Mrs Kamilla Haywood, Mr Fareed Abrahams, Mr Naadir Agherdien and Mr Phadlie Jeppie. The doors of the Home are kept open by the unselfish commitment of all the members of the Home. They see to the strategy formulation and planning of all activities and events linked to the sustainability of the Home.
Beit-ul-Aman is run under the auspices of the Bureau for Muslim Family Care (BMFC). The Bureau was founded in 1965, with the aim of caring for the destitute aged and orphans. Land was bought from the Cape Town City Council in 1976 on the corner of Mars Road and Druif Street in Wynberg, Cape Town.
In 1978, the Beit-ul-Aman Old Age Home was opened. It was unique in that it was the only Muslim Home for the aged in South Africa. Of its first residents were Muslims that were brought in from Non-Muslim institutions.
In 1991, the members of the Bureau, a group of people not very complacent by nature, started a Meals-on-Wheels project, taking hot meals to many destitute aged who were often found to be lonelier in their own homes.
A few years later, the members realised that there was a need for an Orphanage. After years of negotiation with the City Council, the land adjacent to the Home was acquired. In the late 1990’s two cottages were erected for the purpose of housing orphans and destitute children. There was no great demand for orphan service in the community and the cottages are today rented out to an educational institution generating regular rental income.
Whilst not contravening any religious rules and principles, the Bureau is very strict and selective on their admissions. However, the members discovered that there was a greater need to care for the frail and disabled. Today, Beit-ul-Aman accommodates approximately 72 residents, most of whom are frail or disabled.
The Home is governed by a group of approximately 30 voluntary members from the community. An Executive committee of 8 members is elected from these members and they are responsible to ensure that the day-to-day running continues on a professional basis.
An Operations Manager, who reports to the Board, is accountable for the daily operations at the Home. The primary function of this person is to execute the strategy, policy and operational plans set by the Board.
A permanent staff of approximately 50 sees to the operational activities of the institution over two shifts per 24 hour day, 7 days a week. The staff compliment is made up of an Operations Manager, a Nursing Manager/Matron, a Facilities Manager, a Receptionist, a driver, a handyman, Caregivers and General Assistants.
The main income to the Bureau comprises of a portion of the residents’ pension and a subsidy from the Department of Social Services. The government subsidy has been reducing gradually over the past few years and there is no guarantee that the government subsidy will continue.
The total monthly cost per resident amounts to approximately R6 700 whilst the income from the resident’s pension and the government subsidy totals approximately R3 700. The monthly shortfall of R3 000 per resident is funded by donations from individuals in the community and local small businesses.
The Home embarks on 3 main fund-raising events, i.e. an Annual dinner, an Annual Barbecue and an Annual Golf Day. In total these events bring in around R250 000 to the Home. The balance of the shortfall is largely sponsored by the general public through donations in cash and kind.
The current building is more than 40 years old. With the Home having ‘converted’ to a frail care centre, the need to make the Home more accessible to the frail, it became imperative to upgrade the bathroom and other facilities at the Home. This project was completed in 2008.
The building upgrade included renovation of all the toilet and bathroom facilities, erection of nursing stations, the establishment of a physiotherapy room, construction of a proper storeroom and the establishment of a sunroom for the residents to relax in.
The kitchen had a facelift in 2009 and in 2010 the Home installed a basic CCTV system. In 2015 a new freezer room was installed and in 2017 additional cameras were installed. In 2018 brand new industrial washing machines and dryers were acquired.
In between these periods other upgrades were done to the facilities and equipment, e.g. a new dishwasher, new stove, fans, lockers for the staff, an electronic clocking system, new computers, replacement of some of the vehicles, etc.
In 2012 a multimillion rand upgrade was enforced on the institution by the government to bring it in line with health and fire safety standards. The Home is now fully compliant with local fire and safety standards.
In 2014 a group of ladies embarked on a major campaign to raise funds to upgrade the sleeping facilities of the residents. The male wing upgrade was completed in 2015 and the female wing in 2018.
A few months ago, because of the water restrictions in the Cape, the Home installed a borehole and this feed now serves the washing machines and the toilets. The plan is to further purify the water so that it can supply the showers as well.
Beit-ul Aman, for many years, used to be one of a few organisations in the community. Over the years several other organisations – orphanages, relief organisations, etc. – started up and the community started channeling their funds to some of these organisations. Thus, over the years, the size of the pie did not grow much which meant the slices got thinner. We are thus competing against many equally deserving organisations for a slice of the pie.
With the current water crisis in the Western Cape, the Home had to resort to keeping a good supply of fresh bottled water. The storage of this is taking up some of the rooms that are earmarked for residents. We also receive generous donations of blankets and clothing and because of limited space, are also stored in rooms earmarked for residents.
We also face the challenge of not having adequate resting facilities for the staff. They too, are taking up rooms that are earmarked for resident accommodation.
To resolve these challenges, the Home is embarking on a few initiatives. Firstly, we want to work towards becoming self-sufficient. To assist with this, the Home has been presented with an opportunity to purchase a piece of land adjacent to the Home. The intention is to erect some accommodation facilities (maybe a retirement facility for married couples, or student accommodation facilities) that will generate an income to the Home.
In order to address the storage challenges, the Home has been presented with the opportunity to purchase the residential property adjacent to the Home. We intend to move some of the administrative activities here but more importantly make it the key storage area.
It has been more than 10 years since the bathrooms were upgraded and unfortunately they are in need of some repairs and upgrades again. The cost of this is estimated at about R800 000.
The current load shedding bouts are causing quite a bit of disruptions to the Home> The laundry, office equipment, CCTV set-up and more importantly the hot water facilities for the residents get compromised. A full on alternate supply system will cost around R1m.
Besides these major items, the Home is in need of some much needed general repairs and maintenance. These include replacing the asbestos gutters, painting the Home inside and outside, replacing some of the flooring and replacing some equipment, mainly cleaning equipment (buffer machines) and kitchen equipment (dish washer, baine marie, etc.)