About us

LITTLE EDEN is a registered non-profit organisation [001-827 NPO] and PBO [No.930/0000/03] providing life-long care to 300 children and adults with profound intellectual disability in two custom designed residential facilities – Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home in Edenvale, and Elvira Rota Village, in Bapsfontein.

We believe that no matter how profoundly disabled a person may be, he or she is still a whole complete being, with a body; a mind; a spirit and a soul.

Our special children may not experience the world in the same way that we do, but they have so much to teach us! From them we learn about the power of the human spirit, the joy to be found in simple achievements, the satisfaction of caring for those who are weaker than ourselves, love that seeks no reward.

Although the average age of our residents is 27 years, the average intellectual age is that of a one-year-old. Some function at new-born level and have to be fed, carried, changed and bathed. Others are able to manage tasks like feeding themselves, brushing their teeth, dressing and using the toilet.

The children are grouped according to their abilities and behaviour. Many of our residents also suffer from mental illness, disturbed behaviour and multiple physical disabilities. They are cared for in specific groups where they feel comfortable and safe.

Our Mission

To care for, develop and enhance the quality of life,
with love and understanding from a dedicated staff,
persons with intellectual disability of all races and creeds entrusted to us,
by providing with trust in Divine Providence
and in co-operation with the parents, the community and the State
the necessary spiritual, nursing, therapy and stimulation services
in as efficient and economic a manner as possible.

Core values

Our core values are encapsulated in a series of symbols that guide the way the staff and volunteers at LITTLE EDEN respond to children and adults with intellectual disability; to each other as staff; to the environment; and to the larger community.

Just because a person has an intellectual disability does not make them less worthy of respect and consideration. We value each person in our care and celebrate their uniqueness.

Sanctity of Life

We believe in the sanctity of life – these special people are precious in the eyes of God and they have a right to be here and to be helped to reach their full potential despite their limitations.

Love and care

We offer our residents love and care … provide for their needs, and protect them from harm.

Who is eligible?

LITTLE EDEN caters for people with profound intellectual disability – those who are classified as uneducable – of all races and creeds. Priority is given to those who have been abandoned or abused, or who come from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. Once accepted into the LITTLE EDEN family, they remain with us for life.

How much does it cost?

The full cost of caring per resident is R13 460 per month. This includes 24-hour nursing and medical care, specialised therapy, food and clothing. Any contribution towards this cost is greatly appreciated!

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cared for since 1967

1 078

every day

2 500

for one resident per month

R13 460

in operation

Organisational Structure

Meet the Board

Rev Doug Boake
Rev Doug Boake
Mr Maurizio Galimberti
Mr Maurizio Galimberti
Vice Chairman
Ms Sedzani  Mudau
Ms Sedzani Mudau
Dr Matthew Street
Dr Matthew Street
Mr Luigi Slaviero
Mr Luigi Slaviero
Mrs Rosetta Xaba
Mrs Rosetta Xaba
Mrs Thato  Nkosi
Mrs Thato Nkosi
Ms Maleshini Naidoo
Ms Maleshini Naidoo

With a workforce of 263, LITTLE EDEN is fortunate to have a staff to resident ratio of almost one to one.

It is inspiring to witness the commitment and dedication of each and every employee in fulfilling their role and responsibility in caring for our residents with intellectual disability.

We provide specialised training and team building functions to encourage staff to build strong connections with one another. We also have a Caring for the Carers programme which takes place on a weekly basis at both DDHH and ERV. All staff are invited to participate in 45 minutes of “time-out” to recharge and renew.

Mrs Xelda Rohrbeck, CEO of LITTLE EDEN, pictured with ERV resident, Jaco, with whom she shares a special bond.

Message from the CEO

As South Africa passed the two-year mark of navigating a pandemic with the State of Disaster finally lifted, we reflect on this period which started with immense uncertainty, extreme caution and pressure and moved to a period of agility, adaptation and appreciation for having navigated this pandemic with the focus on ensuring our staff and residents’ care and safety remained uninterrupted.

Yet during this period there have been a number of additional significant factors that have contributed to both local and global economic and political unrest and pressure. We acknowledge these very tangible realities that remain a challenge not just for LITTLE EDEN, but for each of us to navigate.

We have become accustomed to the words, “connecting”, “remote working”, “online meeting”, and “disconnected”. We had no idea that these words would have such a drastic impact on our lives. The various Covid-19 protocols, policies and procedures have become part of daily life at LITTLE EDEN and it is with gratitude that we acknowledge our staff and volunteers for the role they play in ensuring our residents continue to receive optimal care. We can also report that all residents over the age of 18 years and all LITTLE EDEN and Supercare staff have been vaccinated, adding an additional layer of protection.

If anything, however, this period has taught us the value of relationships. At LITTLE EDEN, we felt the gap when visitors and family were not allowed entry to our Homes. We are delighted that we can again welcome you for a visit into our Homes, as, in 2022, we celebrate 55 years of providing love and care. This is a special time where we reflect on how far we have come as an Organisation, a milestone we would not have been able to reach without the support of our donors who have become friends and family of the Society over the years.

LITTLE EDEN closed the financial year with a deficit of just short of R1million, testimony of the trying funding landscape and external influences and demands beyond our control. Despite a financially challenging year, we conclude the year with immense gratitude.With the help of a generous overseas anonymous donor, we have been able to build and refurbish some sections in the Homes for the comfort, ease of access, and safety of our residents. This includes Mary’s Mill at Elvira Rota Village (ERV), Bapsfontein and the current developments underway at Domitilla & Danny Hyams Home (DDHH), Edenvale. The successful move of 30 residents from DDHH to ERV, with 150 residents now residing at each Home was carefully planned and executed. Our pecan nut farm project was rolled out and the orchard has been expanded as part of our long-term strategy towards future self-sustainability.

LITTLE EDEN adopted an updated Organisational Strategy with a roadmap of activities for the next five years, as well as developing a Business Development Strategy to dissect the funding landscape identifying untapped opportunities and innovative funding approaches in support of financial sustainability for LITTLE EDEN.

We continue to draw inspiration from our core Values of Respect, Sanctity of Life and Love & Care® and solid foundations instilled by the late founders, Servants of God, Domitilla and Danny Hyams, despite the challenges that come our way. Collectively we each play a part in keeping this legacy alive. We are inspired by the progress that has been made with the Cause towards beatification.

With immense gratitude and appreciation to YOU – our funders, donors, partners, friends and supporters – for the continued belief in the work carried out at LITTLE EDEN on a daily basis in caring for some of the most vulnerable members of society – children and adults with profound intellectual disability.

We fondly remember Giuliano Rota Martir, the late President of the ONLUS who passed away on 18 June 2021 and Remo Ceriotti, the late Treasurer of the ONLUS who passed away on 21 March 2022. LITTLE EDEN will always remain grateful for the incredible and impactful presence and contribution Giuliano and Remo had in support of LITTLE EDEN and their unwavering commitment to the Society. May their dear souls rest in eternal peace. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the LITTLE EDEN Society Board of Governors and management team for being a pillar of strength; to the Sisters of the Imitation of Christ and Fidesco volunteers for the spiritual support and prayers; to the Departments of Health and Government partnerships; the LITTLE EDEN Foundation and the ONLUS in Italy, and to each and every one for the difference you make in the lives of our residents. We are truly blessed!

We congratulate Cav. Lucy Slaviero, Honorary Lifetime President of LITTLE EDEN, on being honoured with the meritorious Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knighthood of the Order of the Star of Italy) award, by the Italian Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Paolo Cuculi, on 10 March 2022, in recognition of the many years of dedicated service given to the intellectually disabled and to LITTLE EDEN Society.

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The LITTLE EDEN Foundation was established on 21 July 2010 and registered with SARS on 29 October 2010 as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO number 930 034 635).

Its prime purpose is to safeguard (ring-fence) all properties and investments of the LITTLE EDEN Society, in order to manage and grow assets for the benefit of the Society, whilst at the same time to reduce its operational risk.

The LITTLE EDEN Foundation operates under its own Constitution, is subject to the applicable statutory financial audits and controls, and is managed by a Board of Management (BoM) made up of members independent of the LITTLE EDEN Society.

Interested individuals and institutions are invited to partner with us to build a secure future for our organisation and those it serves – children and adults with profound intellectual disability. Donations to the LITTLE EDEN Foundation are used exclusively for capital development such as alterations or additions to the Land and Buildings, and are tax deductible in terms of Section 18A of the Income Tax Act.

Should you have any questions regarding the Foundation, please email foundation@littleeden.org.za.