What it means to #bemybest
Working with people with profound intellectual disability highlights that each of us has our own pace of learning.
The LITTLE EDEN Angels, as we call our residents, are people who continue striving to reach their full potential notwithstanding their physical and intellectual disabilities.
LITTLE EDEN staff and volunteers do all in their power to help the Angels to #bemybest. In doing so, they bring to life the words of our founder, Domitilla Hyams: “These children have the right to live as we do and we must do our best to care for them and make them happy.”
Daily therapy in all its forms is one way to serve these beautiful Angels. Whether formal or informal, the therapy adds in developing the resident as a whole person.
Each of our Homes, Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home (DDHH) in Edenvale and Elvira Rota Village (ERV) in Bapsfontein has a beautiful environment with space for our Angels to move and learn in safety. The more mobile residents live at ERV where they have ample opportunities to walk to the wetlands, have picnics in the pecan nut orchard or ride a tricycle on a quiet farm road.
LITTLE EDEN has many stories to tell about how learning or developing a simple skill changed a resident’s quality of life. One example is seven-year-old Sibongile, who quietly sat in a corner when she was first admitted to the Home. Today she is a bubbly and busy little girl, owning the nickname Terrorist. She, as well as Tumi (21) learned to eat by themselves. This seemingly simple skill profoundly changed both their lives as it changes the types of food they can now eat.
Our carers get to understand each resident’s potential and preferences in learning. Some Angels love and enjoy water therapy, while others run from the “noise” of music. Some are energised by interactions with visitors, while others are more reserved and shy away from interaction. Other residents enjoy being outside and others love giving hugs.
Therapy at LITTLE EDEN has many facets, but all is carried out repetitively in a loving environment with the aim of helping the Angels to #bemybest.
Formal therapy sessions include music therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and spiritual care; whereas informal therapy may involve basic art sessions such as colouring-in while sitting under the trees in summer, or while wrapped in blankets in their warm day rooms, in winter.
This is where some Angels like Tumi, Anthony and Candy learned to build jigsaw puzzles. Others such as Jannie always enjoy colouring-in, and others like to play with educational toys. Some residents learn how to use a pair of scissors or to make jewellery or beautiful rosary beads or decorations with beads.
A group of our Angels at ERV is learning basic writing and maths skills. Evidence of this could be seen, when Siza learned to count to 100 and Daniella was able to write her name in the sea sand on a visit to the coast last year.
Some of the residents, including Naledi, Daniella, Joseph, Dorothy and Sizwe, joyfully help with simple tasks in the Homes.
Although some Angels take a while to complete a task, the sense of accomplishment and joy of achievement are contagious and inspirational. Mastering everyday tasks such as wiping your own nose or mouth become daily victories for Angels like Shaun Botha and Sindi. Learning to move their wheelchairs makes them mobile and eager to learn, like Hloni. Mobility develops independence and confidence and allows for greater opportunities to socialise with others.
LITTLE EDEN also creates special times such as our Christmas Concerts, Spring Day, Heritage Day and Sports Days where we enjoy and showcase everyone’s skills and abilities. Music and (sometimes dancing) add to the joy of these occasions where everyone is a champion for being part of the day.
LITTLE EDEN’s Angels love visitors. Contact Nichollette on 011 609 7246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a suitable time to visit the Homes to meet our special Angels and for an opportunity to witness the wonderful work carried out here on a daily basis.
Visit https://littleeden.org.za/donate.php to contribute towards helping our LITTLE EDEN Angels to #bemybest.