Coração Amarelo’s (Yellow Heart Association) model of support to older people has recently been exported to South Africa. The initiative comes from Joana Pizarro Miranda, Portuguese ambassador in South Africa and member of the organisation Nova Vida (New Life). The partnership began in November 2014 with the training of volunteers in Pretoria.

Coração Amarelo has around 1000 volunteers in 8 Portuguese cities. They make daily visits to thousands of older people to give them support, listen to them, help them out with household tasks, read them a book, and accompany them to the barbers, the doctors, the theatre or the park. These simple actions make an enormous difference in combating solitude in later life, the association’s mission. And now, this same mission is about to be carried out overseas, in South Africa.

Essentially, Coração Amarelo’s objective is to do everything within our power to help older people fight loneliness. We also work to identify health problems or other needs and connect those in need to the relevant services.

The project is being very well received by older Portuguese citizens living in South Africa. Their problems are similar to those of older people in many parts of the world. Our task is to hear to their many stories at a moment when society has forgotten them.

Beyond South Africa, the association is studying ways to share its experience and expertise with other African countries, for example Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe.