JRS Elderly Program: Sharing Talents, Inspiring Confidence and Joy
16 September 2018

Members of the Elderly Program celebrate their talents.

Johannesburg, 6 August 2018—Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) South Africa offers a program for the elderly called “Old Age is a Time of Grace” through the Pastoral Care Department, under the supervision of Fr. Vaidas Lukosevicius, SJ and Marie-Christine Boudier. Through this weekly program, participants engage in activities to stimulate mind, body, and spirit together as a community.

One week, the elderly put on a Talent Show, showcasing and celebrating each of their talents and abilities. The program started with a Congolese song by Nkey Gertrude, which the others quickly joined in on. Soon, everyone was joining in on the song and dancing around the room. Next, three women, Nianga Diana, Nkey Gertrude, and Marie Mbuyi, presented baked goods to their peers and explained the recipes of how to make them. They taught the group proudly, slowly explaining each step for the others to write down.

The program continued with Kabola Tshilumba and Ngalula Bombo demonstrating how to crochet. There were crocheting needles for a few others to join in, and they spontaneously began singing hymns in their native tongues together. For the next segment, Elisaeth Mngotho sang a deeply heartfelt Xhosa song and then an upbeat one, which again inspired the group to get out of their seats and dance.

 Before lunch, Cosmos Murindogomo presented a scripture passage and reflection for the group. Others presented their work the following week, including Suzanne Angozi and Kanuka Bernadette with their sewing projects and Ngalula Bombo who made ginger juice. After each presentation, participants received a personalized certificate of achievement and each time the room went wild! There was so much joy in the room as the elderly celebrated one another and the gifts they each brought to the group. It was a magnetic morning. Following the talent show, everyone prayed together and shared a meal.

Sarah Garwood

Intern Advocacy & Communications Officer, JRS South Africa

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