Timion's history

It is fascinating to see how Timion has turned from a small project in a backyard into what it is today!

Introduction

Timion was started in November 2006 by the Swiss orthotist Daniel Meyer and his South African wife and physiotherapist Anika. They met while working with children with disabilities in Sierra Leone and Iraq between 1998 and 2003. After having spent a year of Bible study with YWAM they felt called to settle in South Africa, with the aim to support marginalized children with disabilities. As Anika had strong links with UCSA (Uniting Christian Student Association) in Jeffreys Bay, they moved there in October 2006.

2006/2007

When Anika and Daniel start to assess the needs for disability, they come in contact with the very dynamic rehabilitation coordinator of District Health in Port Elizabeth, Tabiza Caga. In collaboration with her and the therapists of the clinics in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, Anika and Daniel start to see children with cerebral Palsy at the clinics in the townships and at the hospital in Uitenhage. Many of the children are in need of special equipment. However, government hospitals often lack the funding or fail to procure these devices. The situation differs from one province to the next, but by 2006, many disabled children in the Eastern Cape have still not received adequate equipment.

Daniel and Anika start a close corporation under the Name of Timion Child Equipment. The choice of the company form is later proven a mistake because the work they are doing is purely non-profit. The funding for the project is provided by donations of friends, family and Daniel's church in Switzerland. The starting capital of Timion comes from a completed project for homeless people in Iraq that Daniel had initiated in 1998.

The beginning of Timion’s work looks as follows: Daniel is working in the production of simple wooden equipment about three days per week. The first few months this takes place in the backyard of the couple's flat, before a garage at the campsite of UCSA can be used. One to two days per week Anika and Daniel go to see the children at the clinics of the townships or at the hospital in Uitenhage.

2008

Daniel now gets practical support in the workshop. At the beginning, most of the help comes from Zimbabwean and Zambian students of a Christian leadership school. But Timion also receives support from local people: For more than one year Irene and Stuart Bradley are investing half a day per week in the project.

2008 we also welcome our first Swiss volunteer, Debora Müller. She pioneers a role that will keep Timion going: volunteer work. By the end of 2013, Timion will have hosted more than 25 volunteers! Besides providing practical help they volunteers are a moral support and let us see things with fresh eyes that we grew accustomed to.

In the same year we start with a prayer partner program. Our disabled children are “adopted” by prayer partners who commit to pray for the child on a regular base.

Timion employs the first full time worker for the workshop. The work load is growing constantly.

2009

Timion employs the first full time worker for the workshop. The work load is growing constantly.

We also have our first two camps at the UCSA campsite in Jeffreys Bay. We realize that there is a tremendous emotional need for the mothers and grandmothers of our disabled children. The camps are addressing this and just spoil mother and kid for a few days.

2010

We are changing our approach to the children. Up to now we have been seeing mothers and children at the clinics in the township or at the hospital in Uitenhage. However, this kept us from knowing the real circumstances of the family. We also realized that it is often difficult for the relatives to bring the equipment to their homes by public transportation. From now on we are doing home visits, so we can understand more of the background of the families, let the mothers be more relaxed and have the logistical problem of transporting the equipment solved. By employing Oswald, Daniel has now two people helping him in the workshop.

Until now, Timion’s tools and machinery has been DIY products. Surprisingly, they have lasted the daily industrial use quite well. In 2010, Timion can buy industrial woodworking machinery for a very favorable price.

2011

We are moving our workshop from the UCSA campsite car garage to the industrial area in Jeffreys Bay. There we can double our space.

The association Timion Switzerland is founded. The members of the association are coordinating the fundraising in Switzerland and also advise Daniel in running the project.

2012

Timion can employ its first occupational therapist, Elbe. She is doing daily home visits to our numerous patients. Later in the year we can employ Christoffel, who brings more structure in Timion’s work as a logistician. He also re-registers Timion to become a non-profit organization.

2013

We are again moving to a bigger workshop. Timion also gets administrative support and employs a secretary half time. By now, Timion has five staff members besides Daniel.

Anika, who has founded Timion together with Daniel, is formally withdrawing her work for Timion. However, she is still involved in the order process, training and visionary work.

Timion is now a registered non-profit company. The board members of Timion NPC are Wilbur Wright, Selmari Potgieter and Daniel Meyer. Timion also gets an NPC number and Tax exempt status from SARS.

Thanks to a big and successful fundraising campaign in Switzerland, Timion can buy a VW Caddy. It is used daily for the home visits and has plenty of space for equipment or people.

2014

Timion employs a full time counselor. Nolubabalo will be doing home visits particularly to support the need of the mothers. She will also coordinate the cell groups and home churches that evolve out of the camps. It is Timion’s goal that after each camp there is a group forming which meets regularly.

In February, Timion gets its first professional carpenter as a volunteer. Nicolas is from France and is doing his civilian service with us. He will help to upgrade the skills of our workers, to improve the quality of the equipment and to increase the efficiency in the production.

2015

Timothy starts to work for Timion. It was always our dream to take on young people from difficult backgrounds and we are excited to see, how Timion grows personally and learns to become a carpenter.

Elbe our longserving occupational therapist leaves to work full time in Jordan and bring help to the disabled refugee children

Karlien and Ann, both South African occupational therapists join Timion. Having two permanent therapists doing home visits increases our capacity.

Through the generous donation through caisse secours from the french mennonite church as well as a generous donation from a family, we were able to buy a second Caddy to be used for our home visits. Having two therapists, both cars are daily used for our homevisits into the townships

Anglican aid, an Australian humanitarian organisation starts to financially support Timion in its councelling programme to support the caretakers of our disabled children. Timion also facilitates and supports the start of support groups for the caretakers in many townships.

Timion is accepted as the official supplier for standing frames through the government. This 3 year contract allows us to sell standing frames to government hospitals and we hope to raise some of our funding needs through this.

Hannah, who was already working as a therapist with Timion is becoming our manager after Christoffel leaves to the Philippines.

Clifford joins our production team to help us with the increased workload. He works with us to end of 2016.

2016

Timion is accepted to host Swiss civil servants who are trained carpenters. Raphaël is pioneering this role as our first Swiss civil servant.

On the 12th of February we are shaken by a tragic car accident, where our volunteer Alena Hübscher dies and Raphaël is severly injured. It is a very sad and difficult time, but the team and family really feels the comfort of community and God's love

Timion is blessed with many volunteers who all play important roles

We employ Wian, who is wheelchair-bound himself. He is responsible for our CNC machine which we recently bought second hand. The CNC machine helps us to increase our possibilities and precision

Lusanda, Counsellor and Vuyani, Carpenter join our team

In the Domino-Sponsoring-run, organized by YMCA of Basel, Timion is the main beneficiary and raises enough money to build its own workshop. We are very excited and grateful for this prospect of having our own purpose built workshop.

In the mean time, a lot of money is raised to start our own day care center in one of the townships we serve.