At Maroba, we like to think that we lead the way in dynamic and passionate aged care across the globe.

That premise is reinforced when we see what a positive influence we can have on others. In 2013, our CEO Viv Allanson met Sister Lucia, a South African Nun working in aged care, at the International Association of Homes and Services for the Aged (IAHSA) conference in China. Viv learned that Sister Lucia had been sent to manage a poor, rural aged care facility, even though she had no experience or training in health or Aged Care.

When she arrived, she found the facility in dire circumstances. Sister Lucia was given three months to turn it around or the government was going to close them down. Her qualifications in early childhood education were no help to her plight in this challenge, nor was her inability to speak the language, as she was not a citizen of that region.

Time to thrive

The facility is now thriving, thanks to Sister Lucia’s growing passion for older people and her determination to make a difference. That passion overflowed to the International Aged Care community with organisations such as Maroba extending a hand of friendship.

As the friendship between our CEO and Sister Lucia grew, her story was shared, attracting even more generous support, and interest in the plight of older South Africans in poor circumstances.
We were so inspired by Sister Lucia’s story that we invited her to come to Australia (with funding provided by Maroba residents and staff) in 2014 to participate in Maroba’s 60th Anniversary celebrations.

Viv mentored Sister Lucia on issues of direction, leadership and self-confidence, so she now feels even more empowered to change the lives of her residents, and to share her story on the International stage and to be a voice for justice for those in her care.

Our CEO, Viv and a local Baptist Pastor visited St Antonines Care Home in South Africa where they lived and worked with residents and staff in 2015. Over the 3 week program, they served Sister Lucia’s community in whatever was asked of them. It was a life-changing experience for them, plus it was a great opportunity to build and enjoy new relationships and experience the hospitality of Sister Lucia’s staff and residents.

Prior to Viv taking this trip, we collaborated with our local NAB Business banking team and Sister Lucia to raise funds to install a new bore water supply to her 100-bed facility to replace the pots of water they carry on their heads to where it is needed. They suffer from severe drought conditions, which placed the home at risk of closure on the very day the Bore was activated. Since this visit St Antonines have introduced a number of sustainability initiatives which helps them with both food and water security.

A bonus of Sister Lucia’s time in Australia was that we provided opportunities for public speaking to build her confidence. She took to it so well that she was accepted as a speaker in Australia at the joint ACSA and IAHSA international conference held in Sept 2015 in Perth. We were able to help fundraise to enable Sister Lucia to experience this conference and another month in Australia with Viv and the Maroba family.

Where to now?…the good news is, the ongoing fundraising has made it possible for Sister Lucia and her understudy Sister Busisiwe to join us for an Australian Christmas and New Year celebration with their Maroba family and friends…and they will stay on to celebrate Viv’s 60th Birthday. We are all very excited and looking forward to this reunion and hope you will get the opportunity to personally welcome our Sisters and show them our warm Aussie Hospitality.

We welcome your interest in Maroba. If you have any feedback on our social responsibility aspirations, please call us on 02 4935 0300 or email us at enquiries@maroba.com.au