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Elderly people who don't know their rights are in danger of being abused and financially drained by the people who are supposed to be taking care of them. To educate senior citizens about their rights, the local Department of Social Development hosted a human rights and budget workshop at the Raglan Road Multi-Purpose Centre on Friday.
Twenty five elderly people who regularly come to the centre to work on sewing, arts and crafts projects attended the workshop. They were encouraged to discuss their rights and share stories about when they felt their rights had been abused.
"I have the right to receive treatment, help and food," said Nosipho Fezi, a woman who is blind. She said that she should be respected like any other human being.
Another elderly woman said she lives in a situation where her daughter neglects her grandson. "She left her son alone during the night and that little boy will cry up until he sleeps," she said.
The woman said her daughter's behaviour is abusive and offends her as a parent. So what can be done?
Community-based programmes facilitator at the Department Social Development Nomfundiso Tolotyi said that elderly people must report cases of abuse to the multi-purpose centre, or directly to the social development department in Joza.
She said she hoped the workshop had properly educated the citizens about their rights and that they would go on to spread the word to others. Tolotyi also said that every elderly person has the right to decide what to do with their money.
She warned the group of people who take advantage of elderly by pretending to care for them, but instead use up their grant money and pensions.
Centre administrator Wombakazi July was grateful for the workshop and felt it was interesting and encouraging. "[The elderly people] are well open about their problems and situations at home and they also realised that it is good to talk," July said.
She showed interest in follow-up workshops. July also appealed to members of the community to donate sewing and craft materials to the centre. "They are also in need of sewing machines," she said.
The centre, which was established in Fingo Village in 2007, has a number of other functions like housing a pre-school for 130 children and a vegetable garden that helps to provide meals for the kids.