Welcome to our homes

LITTLE EDEN has two residential homes where children and adults with profound intellectual disability enjoy a loving, permanent home for the rest of their lives. We provide 24 hour care and a range of activities and therapies aimed at helping these special angels reach their full potential.

Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home from the air, looking south. From left, A: Our Lady of the Angels Chapel; B: Administration block; C: Reception; D: Laundry; E: one of the seven wings where the children live; F: Therapy Centre

Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home

Smaller children and those requiring intensive medical care generally live at our Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home, situated on the corner of Harris Avenue & Wagenaar Road in Edenglen.

Built on one level for wheelchair accessibility, the home comprises seven wings, where the children live in groups according to age and ability. There is a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, administration office, therapy centre, chapel, games hall and workshop.

Each of the 180 children has his or her own bed or cot; many also have specially adapted wheelchairs to assist them in sitting upright. Their days are spent in bright, airy and colourful rooms, where they are encouraged to participate in various activities and therapies according to their needs and level of development.

Elvira Rota Village

Some of the older and more mobile residents are better suited to life at Elvira Rota Village, our 43ha farm in Bapsfontein, where they enjoy the freedom of being able to go for walks in the sunshine, ride horses and bikes and bond with our dogs.

Although some of the residents participate in farming activities such as tending the cows and sheep, collecting eggs and processing the pecan nut harvest, this is part of the therapy and stimulation programme, rather than a contribution to the farm’s commercial success.

Those who wish to are encouraged to help with the daily chores – rinsing dishes in the kitchen, folding laundry, or just ensuring the farm is free of litter. Activities such as these provide a sense of achievement and ‘belonging’ which adds to their wellbeing.

They receive weekly payment for their work in the form of treats, such as a packet of crisps, a chocolate and a cooldrink. They are very proud of their responsibilities and take them seriously.

Apart from the necessary living and therapeutic facilities, Elvira Rota Village has several unique features:

  • a full size labyrinth, offering residents, staff and visitors with a powerful relaxation, meditation and spiritual tool;
  • a set of chimes, built near the wetlands, for music therapy with a difference;
  • a sensory garden where residents can touch, smell and taste different plants

Our core values extend to the environment. The water reclamation system at Elvira Rota Village was designed to create a wetlands area where many birds, fish, frogs and insects have taken up residence. Waste is filtered through a series of ponds, a reed bed and a waterfall before flowing into a dam – at which stage it is safe to drink.

Elvira Rota Village from the air. From left, A:Farmyard; B:Main admin buildings; C:Holy Family Chapel; D:Garden of Remembrance; E:Hall and laundry; F:Residents’ wings; G: Pino’s Place (for dual diagnosis residents);  H: Riding arena; I:Sensory Garden; J:Labyrinth; K:Boma and chimes; L:Settling ponds; M:Wetlands and dam; N:Pecan nut orchard.

Other facilities

Convent
LITTLE EDEN has established a convent for the Sisters of the Imitation of Christ (an Indian order). Three nuns are in permanent residence, and provide valuable assistance in caring for the children and helping out with activities designed to stimulate their development.

Chapels
Each home has its own chapel where visitors are welcome to attend Sunday Mass; alongside each is a Garden of Remembrance, bearing plaques in memory of every resident who lived and died in our homes.

In 2016, the main door at the Holy Family chapel at Elvira Rota Village was blessed as a ‘Holy Door”. These doors have been used since the fifteenth century as a ritual expression of renewal. Pilgrims and penitents pass through the door as a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light.

Volunteer accommodation
We own a house in Edenvale where long term overseas volunteers are accommodated during their time at LITTLE EDEN.

Shop
We also run a second hand charity shop in Edenvale.

Physiotherapy

Stretching exercises, floor exercises and a neuro-developmental programme to develop muscles enable some children to learn to walk or hold a spoon. Our physiotherapist also shows great ingenuity in modifying wheelchairs and prams so that bodies can be correctly aligned, adding to the children’s comfort.

Speech therapy

Speech therapy may enable some children to gain sufficient control over their tongue and lips to make recognisable sounds.

Music therapy

Singing, beating a drum, plucking the strings of a guitar or listening to a tune on the piano – if the children enjoy it, we’re all for it. Singing also strengthens muscles needed for speech and swallowing, and drumming enhances rhythm and balance.

Hydrotherapy

Apart from being an enjoyable activity for most, hydrotherapy is an ideal way of treating people with physical disabilities. The warm water relaxes spastic muscles and, without gravity, weaker muscles can be exercised more easily, leading to improved strength and body movement. Both homes have jacuzzi baths for hydrotherapy.

Helping children with disabilities make the most of life

Multi-disciplinary therapy

A specialist team combines music, speech and physiotherapy in group sessions that are fun for the children, whilst improving their skills.

Stimulation

Our day rooms are bright and colourful places, filled with mobiles and other toys aimed at stimulating children. Those who are able to do so, have fun building towers of blocks or pedalling a tricycle. For others, fun may come from seeing themselves in a mirror, or watching a mobile turn above their heads.

Pet therapy

LITTLE EDEN is fortunate to have the team from Paws for People bring their friendly and specially trained dogs to visit the children on a regular basis. To receive uncomplicated and total acceptance from a warm and furry creature brings great pleasure to the children. Even those who are unable to reach out and touch enjoy the presence of the animals.

Spiritual Care

Although there are many things the residents may not fully understand – just like any other human beings, they have a spiritual side that demands fulfilment. Worship is very much a part of life, with both homes having their own chapels. The Holy Family Chapel at Elvira Rota Village can accommodate the entire LITTLE EDEN family and their wheelchairs.