Our charity is registered in South Africa and based in Lamontville, Durban (Registration No. 138 129 NPO).
We work with people living with dementia and also the elderly with mental health problems. Our aim is to improve their quality of life by supporting the families and carers who look after them at home. You can find out more about our services here.
By facilitating access to essential services, we make it possible for clients to stay in their home as long as possible before they enter into hospice or hospital for professional palliative care. Hospital beds are scarce in general and even more so for dementia or mental illness patients. There are few affordable homes for the elderly and in these homes, even fewer places for people with dementia. Many homes will not take a person with dementia. So the option for many is to look after their relatives at home. That is where we come in.
Our work in the community is organised and supervised by a team of dedicated, qualified and experienced people.
A founding member, Zethu is a Family & Systemic Psychotherapist with more than 20 years’ experience in the field of mental health in the NHS, UK.
She is the driving force behind the organization.
She initially explored working within existing charities in Durban, but there were obstacles and she decided to form BMF instead. She is still a strong advocate of collaboration between similar organizations to maximize impact and benefit to the communities.
Dr Suvira Ramlall
Dr Ramlall is a Psychiatrist at King Dinuzulu Hospital, Durban and at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu Natal.
She puts in time as a volunteer for BMF and is available for consultation by staff and clients. She carries out diagnoses and offers advice on post diagnosis care.
She has been closely involved with BMF, from when it was just a concept and is contributing immensely to community development. We also benefit from some of her professional colleagues who lend a hand to BMF from time to time.
How we started
Mrs Bessie Makatini, Zethu Makatini's mother, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009. Zethu found that getting services to support her mother was not easy. It was even more difficult for those of little income. Available services are poorly signposted that people are largely not aware of their existence. She also found that many professionals in the health and social services had little understanding of the condition.
Sadly, Mrs Makatini passed awaye in 2012 and in 2014, Zethu founded the Bessie Makatini Foundation, BMF.
Mrs Makatini had been a pillar in the community. She trained and worked as a nurse and later defied odds in apartheid South Africa, to become a successful insurance executive and businesswoman. But she always went out of her way to help people. It is befitting that the foundation's goals mirror some of her values - supporting vulnerable members of the community.
BMF aims to bring about change in the way services for people with dementia or mental illness, are accessed. It also hopes to contribute to the development of these services in areas where there are none.