Learning more about Bethesda Medical and Relief Services NPC

Bethesda was established in 2000 as a non-profit organisation. They are a “5 star” organisation, accredited by the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa for their fantastic patient care and governance.

This week, through #HospiceVisits, we have a deeper look into Bethesda Hospice and in particular the “Wikkelwurms Development Program” which is a children’s development program run and managed by Sharon Symons. We had a chat to her and she elaborated more about it as well as about her personal journey with Bethesda.


Sharon is a qualified remedial teacher and last year she celebrated her 30th year of teaching. She grew up in Gauteng and then moved to George because of her husband landing a job in the area. She taught at a private school until that closed down and then she was offered a job at Bethesda by the then CEO, Dr. Hanilie Louw – she needed someone to help with the children’s home, homework and so forth.

Later on it was decided that they needed an actual children’s development program and that’s when they approached Sharon to take on that duty on a full time basis, basically controlling and coordinating the whole program.

Stages in the program

The program started off very small, only accommodating 20 children with two sessions a day. In the morning and evening. After a while, the program grew substantially and they were able to expand it to a full day program which could then cater for 40 children.

The program looks after children from the community who are developmentally delayed and socially challenged. “We also take a number of children from our hospice setting as well as those who have physical disadvantages.”

Impact of the “Wikkelwurms Development Program”

The program has been around for 5 years now and the impact as truly been wonderful. The children who have left her have left full of knowledge and in a much better state than when they arrived, which is testimony to how well the program is working.

For Sharon, a real positive impact the program has made is on the parents as well. “The attitude of the parents has changed drastically, they are more positive towards their children and much more co-operative as well with the children’s needs, which is a lovely thing to see”, Sharon said.

If you would like to donate to Bethesda and find out more about the Wikkelwurms Development Program, click here.