Probably the most significant project yet undertaken by the Western Cape Commandery to date has been the desperately needed complete upgrade and refurbishment of both the MOTHERS ROOM and the MILK ROOM at Sarah Fox Children’s Hospital in the heart of one of Cape Town’s visibly marginalised communities.
The Mothers Room was a cluttered, unfriendly space and has been thoroughly cleaned up and refurbished by Commandery women - using their own resources and crowd funding - and turned into a welcoming, comfortable room where mothers from often the most deprived homes are able to stay close to their children for a short while; -for some, their last days.

The Milk Room – core to the 50-plus year-old hospital’s feeding programme for paediatric palliative care of children under the age of five – had failed a Provincial Department of Health inspection.
Led by a member with some project management experience, the room was stripped to the walls and bare concrete and has now been completely wall tiled where necessary, non-slip floor tiles laid, upper walls painted, new cornices, dado rails and skirtings installed, complete new cupboards and work surfaces, sinks and tap mixers fitted, new hanging lights installed, new colour corrected blinds hung and an air conditioner and security gate installed. The three industrial milk fridges have been serviced and repaired.
The considerable cost of new materials, fittings and appliances, was borne by a local building company partner, while the majority of the labour costs were paid by the Commandery from funds raised at a hugely successful event earlier in the year.
It was agreed by the Commandery’s Steering Committee that we ‘take ownership’ of the room into perpetuity, insofar as our resources allow us. To this end, there are strong ‘St Lazarus green’ elements in the finishes.

Official handover of the completely revitalized MILK ROOM and the MOTHERS ROOM was attended by representatives of the hospital’s Board of Trustees, members of staff, the city’s Ward Councilor, representatives of the provincial Department of Health, our Grand Bailiff and members of the Commandery and the local community newspaper, which published some useful coverage of the event.

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