The Denis Hurley Centre is a multi-faith organisation based in the very heart of Durban CBD, next door to the Catholic Cathedral, the Grey Street Mosque and the Warwick Markets. It is an area that feels 1000 miles away from the 1000 hills!
The DHC team wanted to explore the beautiful hills and become better acquainted with the activities, attractions and destinations the area has to offer.
DHC management had come across the 1000 Hills CTO’s award-winning video about the Local Benefit Organisations active in the area. Based on what they saw, they decided to spent time among the hills to be inspired by some remarkable NGOs.
The 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation realised that to be an authentic structure able to support 1000 Hills in its entirety, one needs to nurture a meaningful relationship with the Public Benefit Organisations and to campaign on their behalf wherever possible. To this end, they commissioned On Show Media to create a video about the work of some of the PBOs in the area.
Each year, the DHC team spend some time marking ‘Founder’s Day’ to reflect on what inspired their founder, the late Paddy Kearney, to set up the Denis Hurley Centre and also what continues to inspire their work today. So they decided to visit three NGOs in the Valley, all with links to the DHC, and hear other stories of inspiration.
‘House of Love and Hope.’
HOLAH is located in Crestholme and provides a ‘House of Love and Hope’ (hence the name) to 14 children aged between one and ten years. The older children were out at school but the team were able to meet some of the younger residents, many of whom have been abandoned by their families. They also loved seeing the menagerie of pigs, donkeys, rabbits, cats and dogs that ensure that HOLAH is a place of great warmth and fun. The DHC is also involved in feeding hundreds of homeless people every day, so they were also interested to visit one of the Gogo kitchens in Molweni where Zama and her friends serve food to dozens of children every day after school.
Residential Care Centre.
Other members of the DHC team went to Philakade in Embo. This extraordinary residential care centre was set up by Pastor Leonard Gcabashe and Mary Anne Carpenter (who seven years ago founded the DHC’s primary healthcare clinic). They provide a safe and loving environment for 66 adults and children who cannot live at home, most of them with physical and intellectual disabilities. During lockdown, the DHC had hosted a number of disabled homeless men and several of them are now living permanently at Philakade (which in fact is the Zulu word for ‘forever’).
The third visit was to the world-famous Hillcrest Aids Centre. The DHC team visited the 24-bed respite unit that supports people with severe AIDS symptoms and also fourth stage cancer. The doctor who works with the team there, Dr Stephen Carpenter, is also a volunteer at the DHC and he has, over the years, referred a number of homeless people to HAC for respite and end-of-life care. The team also had the pleasure of shopping in all their retail spaces, the plant nursery and the Woza Moya craft centre and then enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Ubuntu Ground Café.
The Denis Hurley Centre team members were so inspired at all three locations to see the compassion and care shown by staff and volunteers. It helped them to recognise that they too are inspiring to the people who see them at work at the DHC. On behalf of HACT, Candace Davidson commented: “We hope the visit sparked some new ideas and discussions. And we look forward to making a visit down the hill towards you sometime soon.”
The DHC team all plan to visit the Hills again in the future to explore in detail, more of the attractions on offer.
Good to Know.
Check out the video on the Public Benefit Organisations in 1000 Hills: