Focus on seniors’ rights

Mitchell's Plain Older Persons Forum co-ordinator Fawzia Cedar addresses the senior citizens about their rights.

Mitchell’s Plain senior citizens converged at Beaconvale Community Frail Care Centre in Beacon Valley last Thursday for a meeting organised by the Mitchell’s Plain Older Persons’ Forum (MPOPF) in an effort to educate them about their rights and social issues impacting them.

Members of more than 20 senior citizen clubs attended the event.

Fawzia Cader, the forum’s co-ordinator, said their mission is to articulate the concerns and needs of older persons as raised by them in consultation with other stakeholders in the community. “Our role as the MPOPF is to be the representatives of senior citizens in our area.

“We want to ensure that the needs of older people are met and their rights protected in consultation with government and other role-players,” explained Ms Cader. She said they want to familiarise senior citizens with their rights.

“We encourage them to stand up and fight against abuse and discrimination. They must know that they have the right to equality, health care, basic services and social security as well as the right to protection from abuse and unfair discrimination,” said Ms Cader.

She said in addition to educating seniors about their rights, they also inform them of new programmes that they intend to implement. “Mitchell’s Plain is a big area, so we came up with a wellness active ageing programme where we are going to divide the area into four cluster areas. The clubs in each cluster are going to work together and each team will have a team leader who will attend monthly meetings with the cluster clubs. They will also attend the MPOPF meetings and that is how we ensure that we share the information between the forum and the clusters,” said Ms Cader.

She said the clusters create a sense of closer support for the clubs and the cluster they are in.

Ivy Johnson, 65, who represented the Shekinah Super Seniors’ Club, said the meeting was productive. “It was so interesting. We learn a lot about our rights as senior citizens. For example, if we are abused we must report it to the police station. They also encouraged us to stay fit as the Golden Games (an annual gathering where seniors participate in team sports) are coming next year,” she said.

Maureen Sables, 64, from Portland who represented Club 60 Seniors’ Club said the clubs keep them busy and fit. “These clubs keep us active. We play games such as draughts and dominoes. Sometimes we go out to enjoy ourselves. We also have sport scientists from the Sport Science Centre in Newlands which assist us with exercise,” said Ms Sables.