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 26 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 R12 700 per month. This includes 24-hour nursing and medical care, specialised therapy, food and clothing. Any contribution towards this cost is greatly appreciated!

Make a donation



cared for since 1967

1 038

every day

2 500

for one resident per month

R12 700

in operation


Meet the Board

Rev Doug Boake
Rev Doug Boake
Mr Maurizio Galimberti
Mr Maurizio Galimberti
Vice Chairman
Ms Sedzani  Mudau
Ms Sedzani Mudau
Rev Antony Bishop
Rev Antony Bishop
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 256, 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

During the year under review we celebrated a number of milestones and overcame a number of challenges, yet these all feel like a distant memory in light of the current pandemic which has become all-consuming due to the risks and uncertainty it poses.

“I am able” is a perfectly fitting theme for this year’s annual report as our ability to adapt to an abnormal situation has been the order of the day recently not only within the confines of our Organisation but in the country and the world at large. We closed the reporting year on 31 March 2020 just as the national state of emergency was declared in South Africa in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which engulfed our country.

LITTLE EDEN, as an Organisation which relies heavily on the generosity of others to keep its doors open, has been adversely impacted by regulations which had to be implemented as a means to cope with and manage the escalation of infections in the country and at all times protect and limit the risk of exposure to our residents and staff.

It is especially at such times where our trust in Divine Providence and guidance through the core Values of our Organisation, Respect, Sanctity of Life and Love & Care and your valuable support comes into play. This helps us to ensure that the core function of LITTLE EDEN, which is to provide all round quality care to children and adults with profound intellectual disability, is never compromised.

Financial stability and sustainability remain one of the top significant and ongoing material issues, especially in light of the continuing economic challenges and the impact of these on non-profit organisations. The Organisation closed the financial year with a deficit of R625 076 with an anticipated tough financial year ahead.

Despite the uncertainty the times hold, we take a moment not to lose track of the milestones achieved over the past year and to give thanks to God for these, which include amongst others two prestigious awards: Second place at the SAB Foundation Social Entrepreneurship awards in the Disability Sector; and the silver award received by LITTLE EDEN at the 2020 Gauteng Premier’s Service Excellence Awards.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prof. Emanuela Del Re and her delegation accompanied by the Italian Ambassador Paolo Cuculi and First Secretary Stefano Ligron, visited LITTLE EDEN on 12 December 2019. The main purpose of the visit was to see the Home and meet the residents.

The invaluable relationship with the Italian Embassy, has contributed towards strengthening the support for LITTLE EDEN within the Italian community in South Africa and Italy.

On 28 February 2020 the new Italian Consul General in Johannesburg, Dott. Emanuela Curnis, visited LITTLE EDEN and shared the wonderful news that following Lucy Slaviero’s retirement as CEO of LITTLE EDEN Society, Lucy has been recognised by President Mattarella of the Republic of Italy for her many years working and leading the Society. Lucy has been bestowed the prestigious title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (An Order initiated in 1793 with 10 900 recipients to date). Congratulations Lucy!
Through the constant support, prayers and involvement of our donors, the Sisters of the Imitation of Christ, Fidesco and other volunteers, the LITTLE EDEN Foundation, LITTLE EDEN Board of Governors, Associazione Domitilla Rota Hyams (ADRH) ONLUS, and the dedicated commitment of our staff, LITTLE EDEN is able to rise above the challenges experienced. It is through your continued support that we will be able to tackle these uncertain times with courage.

The reach and impact of the work carried out at LITTLE EDEN stretches beyond the boundaries of our two Homes.

I take this time to recognise and pay tribute to our very special residents who continue to inspire us on a daily basis.

I acknowledge and thank the Board of Governors for your guidance and support throughout the year. Thank you to the Management team; through your commitment, support and dedication we are able to take LITTLE EDEN forward with confidence despite these unprecedented times. I look forward to sharing with you the various developments in the next year as we commence the major upgrading of LITTLE EDEN Society towards improved service delivery and sustainability.

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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 – adults and children 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.