Severely affected by Cerebral Palsy, Michel can’t stand or walk, wash, dress or feed herself. Up until her 17th birthday, she lived at home with her parents and three sisters. But the older she got, the more difficult they found it was to care for her – and last year, they made the difficult decision to place her at LITTLE EDEN.
It was a huge adjustment for the young girl, moving from a close knit family home into residential care. Especially since Michel couldn’t tell anyone how she felt or what she needed.
Music therapist Karen de Kock (pictured above with Michel) sensed Michel’s frustration and set to work to help her feel better.
“Singing produces the same ‘feel good’ hormones as physical exercise,” she explains. “So if you can’t jog or gym or cycle because you’re confined to a wheelchair, music is a great way to uplift your spirits.”
Karen started with vocal exercises to encourage Michel to move her lips and tongue. Then she composed a song of sounds … Michel’s song … especially for her. Soon Michel was ready to sing ‘her’ song to the rest of her group. Everyone cheered loudly and for the first time, Michel felt happy and understood. LITTLE EDEN began to feel like home.
Not long after, her father came to visit. He heard her singing (and even recorded it on his phone to share with her mother) and was overjoyed to see how well she had settled. It had been a stressful time for the family too.
It’s just one small example of what makes our organisation different. We really do go the extra mile to bring joy into the lives of our children – and you help us do it! Thank you.
Facilities Supervisor, Peter Rohrbeck started off at LITTLE EDEN as a volunteer. By the time he became a full time live-in house father at the Edenval Home, he was already known and loved by most of the residents.
Peter studied agriculture in his spare time, which came in handy when we bought a farm in Bapsfontein in the 1980s which was to become Elvira Rota Village.
He developed the irrigation system at ERV that made way for the planting of the pecan nut orchard which forms part of the residents’ activities. He also developed the unique waste water system and wetlands that protects the environment. In 2010 Peter received a Paul Harris Fellowship Award from Rotary International in acknowledgement of his service to the community.