Marshnee Naidoo, Divisional Manager – Admin/HR, The Association for the Aged (Tafta)
“The vocation of working in the elder sector is a calling — a deep-seated, intrinsic need to want to be of service to others. Formal training and qualifications are the tools we learn and use to answer this calling. Nothing, however, quite prepares you for the day to day realities, challenges and spontaneous nature of this work.
We respond and endeavour to make sense of the work, as well as account to our various regulators and supporters by implementing governance in the form of rules, structures, processes and systems. We justify the rigid, uniform rules and procedures for service delivery to free-thinking and diverse individuals, but essentially, there is a disconnect with that initial ‘calling’ to be of service.
The Eden Alternative philosophy helps us recognise and work through this disconnect through the Eden Associate training. It literally, rocks the very foundation of this ‘control’ mindset we continuously fall back on. The simple and profound truths of the Eden learning programme challenges our mindsets and our reasons for doing things in a particular way. Only by the epiphany experienced in the Associate training, can we change our approach to elder care by putting elders at the rightful place; at the centre of all that we do. It brings purpose back into our vocation and helps us answer that calling that motivated us in the first place.
The journey from Eden Associate onwards is very much an individual one; and the struggle to be spontaneous and comfortable with change as opposed to ‘safe’, ‘tick-box’ behaviour is a real one. The support and commitment from the Eden team in this regard is extremely valuable for this growth experience; with Magda’s words – “keep it simple, keep it real" often echoing in my mind.
Tafta dared to be different, and the Eden Associate training gave us the tools to do just that."