Photo Credit: The Smile Foundation

Kimberley’s Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital got a stunning new burns unit for children; the sanctuary will promote healing for many young lives.


Kimberly, South Africa (25 August 2022)The Smile Foundation joined hearts and hands with Avela Foundation and the Signature Hope Trust, to facilitate the revamp of the specialised Burns Unit at Kimberley’s Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital (RMSH) – the only major hospital in the Northern Cape. This new unit will offer sanctuary to the children of the province.

South Africa faces 1.6 million burn incidents every year. What’s more concerning is that 60% of these cases are children. To meet a critical need for medical care for young burn survivors, Smile Foundation has further extended its burn treatment, which has always made up a sizeable portion of the work that they do.

The upgrades made to the sanctuary are the first of three phases. The aim is to give young burn survivors a warm, engaging and child-friendly healing sanctuary in the form of a state-of-the-art paediatric section.

“I absolutely love the renovations that have been done to the ward, as well as the upgrading of patient and staff bathrooms. Our new, warm and welcoming ward has created a wonderful, therapeutic environment that helps lessen the stress that many young patients feel during long hospital stays and is helping them with their recovery.” – Sister E. Kgobi, a senior Registered Nurse working in the RMSH Burns Unit

Known for following through in all of their endeavours to help young South Africans from disadvantaged families live more fulfilling lives, Smile Foundation and Avela Foundation have shared that on 24 August 2022, the second phase of the three-phase project will be launched. Offering additional facilities, rooms and wards to meet even more medical needs for the treatment of burns in children, Phase Two will include:

A Psychology Pod, which is a dedicated counselling area offering psychological support to young burn survivors and their parents, which is an essential part of the healing process. Pod rooms, as well as Wound Dressing Rooms with different child-like themes, resemble an environment that is far removed from a typical hospital and include an engaging, sensory environment that helps distract children from their current situation and the discomfort of bandage changes. There is also a new reception area in the Unit that is more inviting and pleasant for children.

The Northern Cape has a large geographical catchment area needing support for the many burn incidents that rural South Africa faces due to socio-economic factors like lack of electricity and inadequate housing. In fact, many major burn incidents are because of shack fires, often caused by paraffin stoves, open fires and candles.

The upgrades were all thanks to several local and international sponsors. Kim Robertson Smith, the CEO of Smile Foundation, gave thanks to all those involved.

“Smile Foundation would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the generous sponsors, namely AMZAK Capital Management in Florida USA, for their R1 million contribution to Phase Two of RMSH’s specialised Burns Unit. We’d also like to thank the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Cento Capital and Hinojosa Design for the generous donations they have made towards the completion of this unit. We are also eternally grateful for the invaluable partnership, support and expertise of Avela Foundation – a non-profit organisation deeply committed to helping children with burn injuries make their way towards physical and psychological recovery. Finally, yet importantly, we thank Dr Maria Giaquinto-Cilliers and her medical team at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, for their passionate commitment to helping burn survivors.” – Kim Robertson Smith

“Since 2015, Avela Foundation has been committed to helping burn survivors on their road to recovery by providing them with mental health support, creating a community of inclusion through the U-Matter Programme, and ensuring their healing environments are a safe space that brings a sense of harmony where the outside world often feels traumatic for them to navigate.

“So many lives are being changed for the better because of you. Avela Foundation is on a continual mission to see how we can drive more community outreach programmes that give the people of South Africa an opportunity to get behind us and invest in their communities as well. Madiba’s words ring true: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” concludes Cami Palomo, Founder of Avela Foundation.


Sources: The Smile Foundation
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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