Port Elizabeth businessman Alan Barr woke up at 5am on January 28, 2012, from a dream that he believed was from God.
And 19 months later that dream is rapidly coming true with the launch of ‘Project Sparkle’ — a remarkable community-supported renovation campaign that aims to tranform PE’s three state hospitals into places of hope.
“We were on our way back from the Drakensberg and had stopped over in Bloemfontein, when I woke up at 5am from a dream in which I was called to get the people of PE to come together to clean and paint and upgrade the three state hospitals. And the dream ended with ‘You need to contact TCN [Transformation Christian Network]’,” says Barr who is Eastern Cape Managing Partner of KPMG.
Barr later called Mike Smith, his predecessor at KPMG and an executive member of TCN. Smith told him that as he was the one who God spoke to in his dream he should “run with it”. Barr also shared the dream with his pastor, Rev Jonathan Hobson, Senior Minister at Walmer Methodist Church. Hobson was excited and postive about the dream but cautioned him not to push too hard but to wait on God’s timing.
Barr subsequently spoke to several more people, including Dr Kobus Kotze, coordinator of the PE state hospitals, who said the hospitals were not dirty but were in great need of maintenance such as painting, grass cutting, window-cleaning and repairs, that was not being done because of budget constraints. Barr said site inspections confirmed that the hospitals were in dire need of “TLC” to make them more inviting and healing for patients and visitors and more inspiring for staff who do their best despite the demoralising surroundings .
He says a process of engaging with relevant experts and with regulatory requirements continued with the goal of developing a long-term, sustainable project that is driven by professionals but supported by the community. More people started to come on board with the dream. Schalk Fourie, the chairperson of WezMeth Association which has relevant project experience became actively involved in engaging with the hospitals and a small intervention was undertaken at Livingstone Hospital in January, 2014. Project Sparkle has been aligned with Just1Hr a TCN-initiated campaign whereby people dedicate an hour every month to community service. Following a meeting last month to share detailed plans for the R300 000 exterior refurbishment of Provincial Hospital outpatient buildings “things started moving along swiftly”. Willie Greeff, the Chairman of Willie Greeff Trust saw an article on the project in the local Herald newspaper and committed 30 people from his construction company to get involved.
In a project update emailed to Gateway News today (September 9), Fourie reports that several technical meetings and onsite inspections have taken place involving the technical team and senior management of the Provincial Hospital; unions’ support for the project has been confirmed; Willie Greef (Jnr) has been appointed as Project Site Manager and Mervyn Brouard has been appointed as the Volunteer Project Site Manager; fundraising initiatives have been launched; documentation for the Department of Labour has been prepared; the technical team attended an onsite demonstration of cleaning and preparation procedures — and the project starting date has been set for Saturday, September 27 with the goal of completing the project within three weeks.
People are invited to participate in the project through prayer, active participation onsite, or through donations. Fourie can be contacted for futher information at email@example.com .
The long-term vision is to refurbish all three state hospitals following a three-phase approach focusing on hospital grounds and exterior (Phase 1), hospital interior and staff areas (Phase 2), and hospital wards (Phase 3).