Hands for Hope 


Hands for Hope


At this quiet time of the year, the horses get to hang out just with each other all day, without any people interacting with them – well, other than Lameck and Stanley, our grooms, who feed and water them, and help keep the flies out of their faces by putting fly masks on. At this time, it stands brightly in the light, how fundamental the grooms are to the wellbeing and safety of our herd. 

It is the manner of their interactions throughout the year but especially during this time, when no one is here to watch them, that their integrity and commitment to doing the best for the horses comes through so steadfastly. We will come back in the new year, as in many years before, to horses that are calm, that feel safe around humans, horses that have manners towards people and each other alike. We will find that our youngster Pepper and our new herd member Diego will be steady and patient, and that particularly Diego will have learned so much more in the way of basic manners and education, simply through the gentle interaction that Stanley and Lameck have with them, while tying for feeding and putting their fly masks on. And this overall feeling of safety that the grooms develop with the herd forms the foundation upon which we build our therapy riding work.

When staff and volunteers set foot back onto the premises in the new year, they will also find that the centre and its facilities, the arenas and the wild garden paddock, as well as all the flower beds and parts of the sensory trail will feel renewed and happy. Daniso and Ben will be alongside Stanley and Lameck in looking after the centre during the holidays. The only member of the groundstaff that will not be present during the festive season is Daliso – he has taken leave and is enjoying his time with family and friends in his hometown.


This year we said farewell to two wonderful people.

Lindal Cressy, a long standing instructor for SARDA Gauteng and then the EARTH Centre, has retired after 20 years of selfless service. Lindal saw the centre transition and morph and grow and has been a vital part of all that we do here. Over the years she wore many hats, from treasurer to mentor, but most importantly provided a service that was invaluable to the hundreds of children she helped. We would like to wish her all the best for her well-deserved retirement, and say “thank you” from the staff, volunteers, directors, horses, bunnies and children at the centre.

We also honoured "Granny Annie", a very special young lady of 84 years who has been a volunteer at the EARTH Centre for 16 years. She initially came here not knowing the full extent of her capabilities, and was content in fitting riding hats and watching the children. Our instructor, Wihan, very quickly roped her into helping in the lessons though, and Granny Annie landed up forming a very special bond with our lead mare, Spirit. We want to thank Anne for giving so freely of her time and for making everyone laugh and smile along the way. We wish her all the best in her retirement, we hope for many more volunteers like her.

Without our awesome team of #HandsForHope volunteers, we would not be able to provide the therapy that we do to uplift and empower disabled communities. If you have a couple hours one morning a week to help put smiles on faces, get in touch with us to join the team. We will be recruiting volunteers from January next year. No prior experience is needed - we offer training throughout the year! Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information.
If you just can’t wait to join us, please fill out the volunteer inquiry form on our website.

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