Free State Provincial Conference 2019
The CATHCA FREE STATE PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE – 2019 The CATHCA Free State Provincial Conference was held from Friday 4 – Sunday 6 October at the John Paul II Centre, in Bethlehem. John Paul II was a perfect venue for a peaceful and meaningful weekend, in which CATHCA staff and Members came together to meet other care workers and share their challenges, successes, and future plans.
Everyone who attended specifically mentioned what a wonderful opportunity it was to meet other Cathca Members, to network and compare their own experiences of working in the field. Delegates included Members from organisations from all over the Free State, as well as Sr Sophie Phiri, one of our Board Members and 8 Cathca staff. The organizations were: Lesedi Centre of Hope Siyathokoza Clinic Siyathokoza OVC Caritas Kroonstad Caritas Klerksdorp Bethlehem Diocese, Justice and Peace Catholic Nurses Guild, Virginia Catholic Nurses Guild, Welkom Ikumeleng
A special “Thank You!” to all of our Guest Speakers who agreed to share their expertise and a wealth of information on their specific subjects. The Delegates learned a lot and all believed that much of the knowledge they picked up can be applied in their own organizations as care givers. We were delighted to have Bishop Jan join our conference for a short while on Saturday. At Thomas’ invitation he addressed the conference expressing his gratitude to CATHCA for holding the conference in his diocese. He spoke briefly of his own training in caring for the sick during his priestly studies and how this knowledge has helped him in his ministry as a priest and as a bishop. He expressed his hope that the experiences of the weekend would inspire and encourage the health workers present and those with whom they work. He ended by wishing CATHCA well in its work into the future. The Topics were: Key Issues Affecting Children – Sr Sophie Phiri, Cathca Board Member Key Issues Affecting the Elderly – Sr Obehi Ogbeide, Caritas Kroonstad Spiritual Issues Affecting the Elderly – Fr George Wagner Cathca Strategy: Reflections – Mr Thomas Joseph, CATHCA How Can Cathca Meet the Needs of Members? – Plenary presentations? Care for the Care Giver Panel: – David Mokotedi: Siyathokoza OVC – Keke Porota & Emily Mokhetsi : Diocese of Kroonstad Development Agency – Disebo Mokhitlinyane : Lesedi Centre of Hope Chairman: – Mr Bongi Mthembu, CATHCA
Some feedback from the Delegates Working together improves our knowledge Attitude of the Cathca staff, communication and preparation were excellent Respect of each other, patience, love and good communication among us To see for myself that what I’m doing is not my work, it’s God’s work Maximum participation of all participants networking with different organisations Sharing information Presentations were so fruitful, participation was good From evaluation forms submitted by the Members at the end of the conference, they were happy to report that the content of the workshops and presentations was practical and useful to them, and that they would definitely
be able to use the new information and skills gained. They were also enthusiastic about taking the knowledge they gained back with them to be shared with colleagues in their organizations. The conference focussed particularly on children, the elderly and the Carers themselves. Through participation in breakaway sessions and subsequent plenary sessions, new insight was gained on children’s rights, gender based violence, child abuse and the abuse & isolation of the elderly, with discussions on how to overcome and to assist in these areas specifically. The majority stated that the most inspiring presentation was by Sr Obehi Ogbeide from Caritas Kroonstad on “Issues Affecting the Elderly”. Many were inspired by her dedication and passion. Her stories touched many people deeply. The panel of four Members spoke of the challenges which care workers face daily, focussing on the need for Caregivers to take care of themselves in order that they may continue to take care of others. All of the presentations were excellent, and the breakaway sessions gave individuals a chance to share their feelings and opinions, which were fed back to the plenary.
There was also definitely a lighter side to the Conference! On Saturday afternoon, the members had an energetic time racing with water-filled balloons, battling a tug-of-war, and playing soccer.
The general feelings of all who attended the conference were perfectly summed up in one comment: “The conference focused on what I specifically need to learn. The attitude of the Cathca staff was very good. I gained skills and information through this workshop – and we had fun together