Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH)view all members

Established in 1981

NPO 117-542

Greater area of operation: Western Cape

Beneficiaries per year: 700 older persons

Nowhere can anyone afford to house, clothe, and feed themselves, and provide for their health and transport needs, on R 1410 per month – the State pension – the only source of income for the majority of State pensioners in South Africa. With a rapidly ageing population, and a crumbling community fabric, South Africa is facing a crisis.


But we see potential and possibility!


Recognising that State pensioners greatly benefit our society and our economy, and that they too should have equal opportunities to live lives of independence, meaning and enjoyment, NOAH has led the way in developing and implementing an innovative, credible and cost-effective model of support for more than 34 years.


NOAH believes that by supporting State pensioners to remain independent, we are not only reducing the burden of care for families, communities and the State, but we are enabling them to be contributors to society, supporting these families and strengthening communities.


By providing affordable and secure housing solutions, access to affordable quality health care and holistic social support (including social enterprise development) active State pensioners are able to continue to lead purposeful and contributing lives.

About the Organisation

‘Home, Health and Happiness for every older person:’ this is our vision, informing every aspect of our work in supporting more than 700 state pensioners.


NOAH also advocates for services for State pensioners through the promotion and replication of our model, collaboration with sector partners and forming working partnerships with Government.


In this way this historically disenfranchised and still marginalised group retain their dignity and independence, feel more secure, are involved in their families, connected to their communities, and remain healthy, active and out of residential care for as long as possible.


As a registered NPO and PBO, NOAH has two main centres of activity: Woodstock & Khayelitsha, and individual houses in the outlying areas of greater Cape Town.


2015 and beyond sees the continuation and strengthening of these centres to ensure that they each have an appropriate and relevant response in terms of our vision: Home, Health and Happiness:




The 12 houses are ordinary houses in communities where the residents share responsibility for the smooth-running of the home. They pay a monthly rental of R 115, and strive to keep utilities’ costs as low as possible in order to ensure that they never pay more than a third of their pension on their accommodation costs. This way they are able to live with security, eat nutritiously and meet their health and other basic needs with dignity, on R1410 per month.


NOAH ensures that the houses are well maintained, safe and compliant spaces. Each of them has been architecturally surveyed and the reports are available. The reports cover all aspects relating to the house, from fire and electrical compliance, room sizes, to maintenance requirements and recommendations.


Most of the independent houses have a Steering Committee, made up of volunteers from the community. These volunteers support the home and its residents, connect them to the broader community and represent the interests of NOAH. The Steering Committee members meet with residents formally once a month and on an ad hoc basis as required. All the Steering Committees come together as a group on a bi-annual basis, as the NOAH Management Forum. This Forum has a representative on the NOAH Management Board which meets monthly.


In 2010, NOAH successfully negotiated a subsidy for this concept of housing from the Western Cape Provincial Department of Social Development. Because of the affordability and security of tenure, NOAH has a waiting list. We therefore have an urgency regarding the replication of the model in other communities if we are to address the critical housing shortage. This replication work forms a major part of our advocacy and lobbying work.




“Older age is a phase of life in which people expect to continue to build on their plans, aspirations and goals. However, these possibilities are compromised when ageing is associated with chronic disease and social marginalisation. Older people are more likely to have complex health needs. They require access to a full range of primary, chronic and acute care services. They also need intermediate care initiatives designed to bridge the gap between hospital, community-based services and home. Care for the older person should be inclusive of an approach that will provide bio – psycho – social – spiritual support within a team context.”


However, access to adequate State health services is limited and challenging: long queues, limited/no physical examination for monitoring and evaluation of the older person’s health status. This poses a real threat to State pensioners’ independence and active community engagement.


To deal with this, as well as minimise the amount of time spent in emergency units in response to various health crisis, NOAH initiated its primary health care service in 1995. The immediate impact of this service was significant, with reduced health emergencies and improved levels of wellness.

The service comprises two primary health care clinics and allied health profession interventions in Khayelitsha and Woodstock, providing essential primary health care services to approximately 350 State pensioners in the community.


The bi-weekly clinics are run by General Practitioners, together with NOAH’s Health Manager and two clinic assistants.

The members’ health needs are addressed proactively, they are spared long waits at the public health facilities, receive much needed health advice, information and awareness, and can access medical treatment and medication when needed.

Assistance with dietary and medication compliance is ongoing and very important.

In addition NOAH provides a monthly Cardiology Clinic, massage, podiatry and physiotherapy with professional practitioners.


Through ongoing monitoring and evaluation, NOAH is confident that the impact of this service means that State pensioners are largely kept out of emergency situations, are less compromised in their daily activities and live free of anxiety regarding their health.


We recognise that the public health system is under tremendous strain due to sheer numbers. We believe our model is an appropriate, cost effective and replicable way of addressing the health needs of State pensioners, reducing the burden on the state system, at no extra cost to the State.


The Western Cape Department of Health supports the clinics and has officially endorsed them by way of signed Service Level Agreements. We believe this private/public partnership is an ideal response to the situation.





Older persons want to enjoy good health and remain active and independent for as long as possible. As people get older, remaining independent often depends on health and social care services being effective enough to support them.


The World Health Organization (WHO) envisions active ageing as: A process that allows State pensioners to continue to participate in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, whether ill or living with disabilities (WHO, 2013); and for societies to provide the necessary resources that allow State pensioners to access quality care and receive adequate protection and security. (WHO, 2013)


In response, and as the third aspect of Home, Health and Happiness, the NOAH Service Centres are an integral part of the lives of NOAH residents’ and State pensioners in the community. With more than 160 signed up members, the centres are hubs for providing:


  1. Social support – peer group support, cultural exchanges, dialogue, outings and events
  2. Wellness support – meals, nutritional support, advice and exercise
  3. Financial support – savings cooperatives, financial literacy, bulk discounts, and seven income generating projects through our enterprise development programme
  4. Access to information and referrals


One of the key focus areas for activity at the Centres (and for which funding is requested from the National Lotteries Commission) is income generation through social enterprise development, for three main reasons:


  1. Creating opportunities for state pensioners to generate additional monthly income for themselves and their families, and for social engagement.
  2. Generating income and sustainability for NOAH. An NPO’s ability to generate its own income has not only become necessary, but critical in a tough funding environment.
  3. Changing perceptions: in an ’anti-ageing’ world few people have a positive view on ageing and even less believe that State pensioners are able to make a contribution to society, let alone the economy. We believe that our enterprise development has de-bunked this myth and we are seeing “poor” state pensioners turning their lives around through income generation. Not only does it provide them with extra income, it also contributes to the costs of the Centre, their families and the local community.


Since 2010, NOAH has introduced nine social enterprise projects, based at our Woodstock and Khayelitsha Centres:


NOAH SOAP (including Hope Soap), NOAH Candles, The Community Kitchen, The Trestle Table, Partnership with Frika Hair, Partnership with The Clothing Bank, NOAH Loaves, Beading and Ballet Buns.



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