Hone oChris Swart is the newest member of our board and was born and bred in the Free State.
He is married to Sandra and they are a family of four with a son of 24 and a 17-year-old daughter. After he completed his national service he exchanged the plains of the Free State for a mountain by the ocean and studied at the previous Cape Technikon. He was also involved in optometry practices and wholesale in both South Africa and England for 23 years. In 2012 he and wife Sandra combined their efforts to open a few businesses, including a laundromat, restaurant, and chemical distribution company. During his life, he has been involved with the management of various service organisations such as the Round Table, Rotary, ATKV and Wellington Business Chamber.
His first encounter with the residents of Sunfield Home took place in 2009 when a previous clinic sister brought some of the residents for affordable eyecare to the optometry practice where he was working. He was hooked and regularly attended fundraising initiatives, partook in fun runs, and danced the night away at our Valentine’s Day Dance. In 2020 he and Sandra decided to become more involved by setting up the Sunfield Shoppe to create another income stream for Sunfield Home. The Sunfield Shoppe in Wellington sells secondhand clothing, books, bric-a-brac, and other items.
Chris feels it would be unfair to single out particular highlights of his journey because every interaction with the residents is a highlight for them. The greetings, the hugs, the chats, the resident sending him WhatsApps every week, and the childlike enthusiasm all contribute to an enriching experience.
His vision and dream for Sunfield Home is two-fold:
- Firstly to make Sunfield Home so well-known that every individual or organisation races to their aid in order to create relief for the financial burden placed on the parents of the residents.
- Secondly, that every resident is happy at all times and that there will always be enough staff and activities to stimulate them.
“To invest in an organisation, where the residents’ friendliness and gratitude are evident, is the biggest reward and I feel privileged to interact with these great gifts of God.”
Chris feels convicted that intellectually disabled people deserve an uncomplicated existence on this planet. Their honesty, sincerity and love are amazing. Everyone involved at Sunfield Home, or other centres, should be ambassadors in order to garner public interest or exposure to Sunfield Home. This is the only way to change the perception about disabled people.
Chris shares that he has had a brother and sister-in-law with intellectual disabilities and since they have the opportunity to be part of a loving family, it motivates him to give more of himself to those who are not as fortunate.
When looking at the faces of the residents at Sunfield Home, ask yourself: “Do I need any other reason”?