What is paraplegia or quadriplegia?
Paraplegia means paralysis of the legs and lower part of the body. It involves the loss of sensation (pain, temperature, vibration and position) as well as the loss of motion. It may also include paralysis of the bladder and bowels. Paraplegia may be caused by injury to or disease in the lower spinal cord or peripheral nerves or by such brain disorders as cerebral palsy. Quadriplegia also involvesthe loss of sensation as explained above, but means paralysis of both arms and both legs.
As a result of the South African Defense Force activities in Angola during 1975, Mr. Solm Yach, one of the initial founders of the Fund for Security Services Disabled and a prominent businessman realised the possibility that there would be casualties and permanent injuries amongst SA servicemen who participated in that war not out of their free will or to seek adventure. After visiting Israel, who was saddled with similar circumstances, he visited late Brig L H Robertson and his blind wife, late Bettie Robertson. They decided that a care-facility for disabled servicemen should be established in South Africa.
After several successful fundraising projects, generous donations from Trust Funds as well as the private sector, the Trustees were able to build Robertson House (named after the Robertsons) in Sanddrift, Milnerton. In 1985 the first disabled servicemen moved in, but Robertson House was only officially opened on 7 June 1990 by the then Administrator of the Cape, Mr. Kobus Meiring.
Robertson House had in the past only catered for security services disabled persons (Defense Force and Police Services), but due to the ever increasing demand and the crying need for more accommodation, the constitution was amended to allow the accommodation of any physically disabled person with a permanent spinal cord injury over the age of 18 years. Together with the above mentioned changes to the constitution, the Board of Trustees decided to change the name to The Robertson House Fund to avoid any confusion. The Home itself is known as Robertson House and is managed by a management committee of elected volunteers. The Robertson House Fund is the custodians of the Robertson House assets. Both committees meet on a regular basis to ensure that quality services are rendered to the residents of the Home and to ensure a sustainable future for the organisation.