On Friday and Saturday, Nazareth House celebrated their 130th birthday with a music and activity filled Fun Fair on their premises in Vredehoek. The event was both a fundraiser and celebration for the NGO that provides vital services to babies, children and the elderly in need.

Some of South Africa’s leading bands performed: Ard Matthews with John Ellis, iScream and the Chocolate Stix, The Soap girls and the Blues Broers with Albert Frost. Food, arts and crafts were for sale and children could take part in activities that included Bubble Balls, Inflatable Sumo Wrestling, Gladiator battle and more.

Fact Sheet – Nazareth House


1. What is Nazareth House?

Nazareth House Cape Town is a Non-Profit-Organisation (NPO) with facilities in Vredehoek and Elsie’s River and a community cottage in Mowbray.


2. What does Nazareth House do?

Nazareth House aims to provide a loving, stable and secure home environment for abandoned, neglected, disabled and orphaned children as well as a last resting place for children with terminal conditions who are unable to return home due to sociable ills. Many are the victims of poverty, abusive homes, orphaned and the HIV & AIDS pandemic. They also provide residential care for frail aged men and women in desperate need.

Core projects include: The Nazareth House Children’s Home, a Family Reunification Programme and the specialist children’s special care unit opened in January 2012, called St Michaels.


3. Who is the founder of Nazareth House?

The Sisters of Nazareth were founded in London by Victoire Larmenier – Mother St Basil – at the request of Cardinal Wiseman, to care for the aged poor. Later, the apostolate of the Sisters extended their care to include homeless and abandoned children.


The Congregation was founded in the mid 1800s when Victoire Larmenier was just 24 years old. She was born on 21 July 1827 in Brittany, France and entered the group of ‘Pious Women’ later known as the Little Sisters of the Poor. Seven weeks after she took her final vows, she left her home, the youngest of a group of five Sisters, to answer a calling in London.


In 1881, a small group of Sisters arrived in South Africa at the invitation of the Bishop of Cape Town. Their mission was to care for indigent elderly and orphaned children.


4. When did Nazareth House first open its doors?

In 1882.


5. What is the history of the building in Vredehoek where they are housed and who subsidised this?

Building owned by Sisters of Nazareth.


6. Why was it decided that there was a need for a facility such as Nazareth House?

In the world we live in, poverty has always existed and with poverty comes the great need of survival.  Many are at the merciful hands of crime, abuse and violence and sadly those that cannot defend themselves are the elderly, disabled and children.  After the initial visit in 1880, it was decided to accept the invitation of the then Archbishop of Cape Town to come to SA and assist in the fight for human dignity by providing the much needed love, compassion and justice to those in desperate need of care.


7. What facilities are provided in the various locations?


  • Care of Special needs children.
  • Place of saftey for children.
  • Terminal and palliative care for children.
  • Care for 42 Aged.


  • Community Cottage for 6 children.

Elsie’s River

  • Care for 30 Aged.


Nazareth House receives a subsidy from government for 64 children, which unfortunately, falls far short of the actual cost of caring for little ones with special needs.  Nazareth House receives an additional subsidy for SOME of the 72 elderly people that are cared for, again this amount falls far short of the actual costs of providing 24/7 nursing care to these elderly folk, and therefore relies on donations from caring individuals and companies to help make ends meet.


8. Is only permanent care provided for children?

No – wherever possible, the aim is to stabilise and reunite these children with their families through the family reunification programme, or to place them in foster care. Those that remain permanently at Nazareth House are mainly children with special needs and disabilities, such as severe Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, intellectual disability, Down Syndrome and RETTS Syndrome



9. Who serves on the Board of Directors of Nazareth House?

Deacon Les Ruhrmund: Chairman

Lynn Blair: Ombudsman

Keith Brodovcky: Treasurer

Jonathan Connellan: CEO

Deacon Arthur Johannes: Member

Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Henry: Member

Mrs Joyce Stewart: Residents Representative

Sister Veronica Murphy: Member

Sister Margaret Craig: Member

Sister Michael: Member

Sister Annamercy: Member

Sister Gladys: Member

Rosie Whittaker: Ex Officio

Gayenor Milne: Secretary


10. How is the Board of Directors chosen?

They are invited by the regional superior or can apply.


11. Who is currently the chairman of Nazareth House?

Les Rührmund.


12. How frequently does the Board meet?

Every 3 months.



13. How do sponsors apply?

Nazareth House has to approach donors as they don’t usually contact the organisation but there is a loyal donor base – most of whom are anonymous.  Contact can be made by emailing: info@nazhouse.co.za.  Gayenor Milne 021 461 1635


14. Who are the major sponsors of Nazareth House?

There are many individual donors instead of major sponsors.



15. What is the volunteering process and how do I get involved?

Open Days: 12 April, 12 July and 12 October 2012

If you are over the age of 21 years, are willing to make a commitment for 3-6 months, have a police clearance, are passionate about helping children and the elderly, and are enthusiastic and able to take initiative, then we would love to have you volunteer at Nazareth House!

 Local Volunteers

If you reside locally in the Cape Town area and are interested in volunteering at Nazareth House, we invite you to attend one of our OPEN DAYS. Open days will be held on 12 April, 12 July, and 12 October at 14:30 at Nazareth House (1 Derry Street, Cape Town). At the Open Day will be given information about Nazareth House, the work we do, and how volunteers assist us. At the Open Day you will meet our team and gain a better understanding of the type of work that can be done at Nazareth House. You will also be given the application forms to complete after the information session if you are still interested in volunteering.

 International Volunteers

We invite all international volunteers to work via GOOD HOPE STUDIES or AVIVA regarding volunteering at Nazareth House.

You can contact AVIVA at : http://www.aviva-sa.com/nazareth-house-childrens-home-cape-town.php



16. What services do Nazareth House provide and to whom?

Nazareth house provides loving care to the frail indigent Elderly and terminally ill. As well as homes and care for children, babies with special needs, children with problems or disabilities such as severe Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, intellectual disability, Down Syndrome and  RETTS Syndrome.


17. What is the qualifying process for services at Nazareth House?

Children are only accepted as a referral from the courts or emergency placements via statutory social work organisations and elderly are able to apply.  Preference is always given to the indigent elderly.


Religious Denomination

18. Does Nazareth House only provide their services to people of Christian faith?

No, their services are available to all races and religion; they take care of anyone in need.



19. How does the adoption process work?

Nazareth House social workers work very closely with an independent social worker who is registered to do adoptions, where possible we try to place our children using this mechanism as it is faster and more affordable for those desperately wanting children If people want more information on fostering or adopting a child they can send an email to socialworker@nazhouse.co.za.



20. How many people can Nazareth House currently accommodate?

70 elderly and 64 children at any one given time, however in 2010/11 over 90 babies and toddlers were cared for as well as our normal special needs and permanently placed children.  It is expected that there will be an additional increase this year.

21. What are the major costs involved in operating Nazareth House?

The major costs are the actual operating costs such as, electricity, water, food etc.  Every person be it child or elderly, at Nazareth House needs 24/7 care, that’s why they are here.  Staffing costs are over 50% of the budget and critical to being able to provide good quality care.


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