ERPW Information Centre

The East Rand Protective Workshop provides a permanent, healthy (physically and emotionally) and creative environment for mentally disabled adults on the East Rand. Here they find unconditional love, a safe environment where they can develop their talents and skills, and where they can learn how to communicate as adults with others, handle conflict and be in caring relationships.

For the past thirty years the East Rand Protective Workshop (ERPW) for Intellectually Disabled Adults served the different communities on the East Rand with distinction. Here they accept one another, laugh and play together, have a few fights, fall in and out of love, develop lasting friendships and even shed a few tears. All in all, the East Rand Protective Workshop, the only workshop of its kind on the East Rand, is truly a protective environment and a home away from home.

Every day of the week, from all over Ekurhuleni, four busses transport 70 people to and from the Workshop. Thirty three people live in the three existing hostels while 3 parents bring their children to the Workshop. This puts a tremendous strain on our finances, because most of people with intellectual disabilities come from the lower middle class and previously disadvantaged homes.

Erecting the hothouse

The people living with intellectual disabilities assemble an assortment of products for a variety of businesses. We are involved with Casual Day, organised various fundraising events and in 2011 have received a grant from Lotto (NDTF) to build the 3rd hostel that was completed in 2012.

We provide various therapies to our beneficiaries to help them become more mature, to make informed decisions, to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions. These therapies are equine-, art-, eco-, spiritual and narrative therapy. It is a slow process but small changes are already visible. We have a BEE certificate and have the authority to provide an Art.18a tax certificate.

She secured the buildings of the old Pomona Primary School in Maple Street as the premises for this new venture. A Governing Board was appointed to oversee the continuation of the Workshop. The East Rand Protective Workshop, as a nonprofit welfare organisation, opened its doors on the 19th January 1989 to only five people with mental disabilities. Mr. Willie Breedt was appointed as a full-time director on the 17th April 1989.

A year later, in April 1990, the Board appointed Mrs. Annatjie Macdonald as assistant to the director to get the administration in order. One month these two had to work without pay, but their persistence paid off when in 1996 a hostel was built to accommodate 10 people with Mrs. Alida Coetzee as the matron.

Today, the ERPW is governed by a multi-racial Governing Body, run by an efficient staff consisting of the executive director – Naas Ferreira, the assistant to the director – Nysie van Tonder, two supervisors – Erika Swanepoel and Werner Rykaart, the three hostel matrons – Marie Dalton, Jackie Esterhuizen and Percy Phillipson, and a cook Hannetjie Steenekamp. The Board manages the finances with extreme care.