Volunteering for a cause, not for applause

Categories: People & Places.

Searching for a country which is less developed and different than Europe to do research on for her Thesis, Michelle van Gend together with the help of a local Dutch Agency came across Khanya Hospice in Kwazulu – Natal, South Africa.

Michelle, a 24 year old woman from a small village called Veenendall in Holland is in her fourth year of studies. She is studying social work at a University in Amersfoort, near Utrecht in the Netherlands. She decided to volunteer at Khanya Hospice for 10 weeks and at the same time write a social work study (short thesis) on the work Khanya Hospice is doing in the community.

Currently the hospice funding in the Netherlands is falling away because of the expensive health care system which over 300 hospices are competing for. About 25 Euros (R420) per week is spent on hospice services and if this continues, the health care system will be bankrupt in the next 20 years. The health care system currently in the Netherlands is too luxurious. They care for everyone especially those who don’t necessarily need them.

“The health care system would need to change its strategy focusing on patients who need special care.” she added. The Health Care System in the Netherlands can definitely learn a lot from the way hospices operate in South Africa. I do hope that my research would help our government to come up with better strategies in order to continue hospice care in the Netherlands.

Experiences of South Africa

People are very friendly and the climate is really amazing. In the Netherlands it is extremely cold where temperatures reach as low as 10degrees. I am amazed to see the extent at which hospice care for their patients and the amount of compassion they show. I feel this is something many other countries, including mine, should learn from.

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