FCIA is celebrating its 110 year anniversary in 2018. This gave us the opportunity to reflect on the past and specific events that formed the organisation in becoming so well-positioned in this modern era.
Oranje Vroue Vereeniging was established under the guidance of President M.T. Steyn’s wife, Rachel Steyn. The initial focus of the organisation was to provide social assistance to poor white women and children, to empower women and girls, deliver essential health services and the promotion of Afrikaans and the Afrikaner culture. Several affiliates of the organisation were formed throughout the Free State province through the inputs of volunteers. These volunteers consisted of white, Afrikaans speaking women.
During the annual congress President M.T. Steyn confirmed during his speech the importance of family and the empowering of youth. During his speech he unexpectedly collapsed and died. The organisation vowed to focus on providing the poor and vulnerable people of the Free State province with much needed services and support.
The need for providing care services to elderly persons was identified and the first Home for the Elderly, Rusoord, was established in Brandfort. Several other affiliates followed in establishing service centre’s for older persons, clubs for the elderly and formal care facilities.
The necessity for professional social word services led to the appointment of a social worker. The services were delivered from Bloemfontein which meant the social worker had to travel to towns and affiliates delivering services. The challenges experienced moved the Kroonstad branch to employ their own full time social worker. Other affiliates followed soon thereafter.
Severe poverty of people and accompanying starvation urged the organisation to provide food to hungry children. The first soup-kitchen or eat-house was established in Brandfort. More formal and semi-formal soup-kitchens were started in other areas of the province.
Not only children’s need for food but also their cognitive and social development was recognised. The first pre-primary school, Rooikappie, was started in Bloemfontein to address these needs. Several affiliates identified the need in their towns and started their own pre-primary schools.
After 80 years of providing much needed social work services, care to the elderly and early childhood development services to poor white Afrikaners the organisation realised that an adjustment in the alignment of services were inevitable. The new political dispensation urged the organisation to edit the organisations constitution. All barriers regarding gender, language and race of volunteers and beneficiaries were removed.
The Oranje Vroue Vereeniging realised that in order to strategically reposition the organisation was it necessary to change the organisations name. Free State Care in Action was adopted as a name to take the organisation into the future.
After 100 years of existence Free State Care in Action held their centenary celebrations, celebrating an organisation that was able to become a Christian based, leading and well positioned organisation. Free State Care in Action serve and develop the community through enough capacity and resources.
A new care model in providing elderly care services was adopted. All services to the elderly became person-centred and focus on keeping older persons independent as long as possible. The Eden Alternative principals guides all services and activities within elderly care services.
Professional services are used to generate an income. Social work services are being sold to organisations and institutions needing these services. A workforce support services are rendered to companies.
The importance of quality early childhood development to children in rural areas is addressed through the appointing of an early childhood development Coordinator. Facilitators of these services are empowered in providing good quality cognitive stimulation to children and managing sustainable centres.
Social work services are aligned to address the objective of the national development plan. Prevention programmes are developed to empower communities, families and children in becoming self-sufficient and well-functioning entities.
110 Years later and Free State Care in Action is able to care for, develop and empower vulnerable people in the Free State Province. Nearly 100 service points serve each community with commitment, empathy, trust, transparency and respect.