Local community first aider service hailed a life saver

Breaking news from one of Dreamcatcher’s socio-economic development initiatives, is that a team of First Aid Responders have trained for deployment across the community of Melkhoutfontein, South Africa as part of the Dreamcatcher ‘Wasteland – Graced Land’ project.

12 locals from the community registered to undergo a Level 3 South African Government Department of Labour accredited First Aid Responder course to address this important service in the community, with the project now recognised for its contribution to public health and a model with merit to duplicate for life saving implementation in communities similarly removed from emergency help.

‘Wasteland – Graced Land’ is a socio-economic development project, implementing a pluralistic approach to innovate projects and enterprise opportunities which impact positively on the greater good of society and enables community-responsive, outcomes based delivery through social innovation. Activities are tracked
for local impact and training is purposed to the outcomes necessary for sustained self-sufficiency and growth.

Barriers to facilitate the goals were identified by the community of Melkhoutfontein in a host of engagement meetings 10 years ago when the project was launched, with a host of activities feeding into each other in a multi-dimensional and inter-disciplinary manner.

Part of the ‘Wasteland – Graced Land’ plan, the First Aiders have been co-ordinated into a community-wide response grid which includes being on hand to visitors to the community to experience local food and participate in a host of intra-cultural activities, events or stay over in the community.

The First Aiders are thus also on hand for visitors and respond to any incidents which arise on the LA Bloemen Botanical Garden, developed on a former waste dump site and the Arts and Crafts or Humanity project currently rolling out working in tandem with the University of Brighton in terms of design, training and technical support.

The team, ably trained by Silver-Link, operate on foot across the community. Endeavouring to reduce the critical risk in the time taken for an ambulance from a neighbouring town to reach the community, the aim is to save lives and dedicate our service to improve chances for survival; facilitate faster healing and vitally, free up ambulances to treat the most critical emergency cases.

Says Dreamcatcher founder, Anthea Rossouw: ‘We are proud to launch this service. First Aiders now respond to a vital need, identified by the community in our regular and ongoing local research -and engagement activities. Our ethos is to address needs, implode services and focus our efforts as local to an issue in a struggling community as possible. We thus ‘Go truly Local’ for sustainable outcomes.

Over the years we have built incredible partnerships worldwide. Everyone who have visited the community of Melkhoutfontein over the years embrace the project. Funds for uniforms worn with pride, were donated from the USA and UK. Hi-visibility clothing was supplied BK Safety Wear in the UK.

Additional funds for the well-equipped Grabber bags, easy to carry as the responders are on foot, were donated by a visitor from the Netherlands and supplied by South African firms. Training funds were gathered by The Utopia Foundation USA , from donors in the Netherlands and from scores of people all over the world. Vitally, the local community stepped up to train and deliver the service. The result is a concrete example of a global citizen partnership at its very best. It is possible!’.

For more information contact Anthea Rossouw
Photo credits: Hans Moore, Netherlands.