The South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA) is a registered non-profit organization that provides free therapeutic horse-riding lessons to more than 200 disabled children in Cape Town, 75% of whom are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
Belinda Sampson, mother of a cerebral palsied son and Joy Finlay, a well-known rider and national judge, founded the organization in 1976. Today SARDA has teaching branches in all the major centers throughout the Country.
The therapy is voluntarily facilitated by trained instructors, occupational therapists, helpers and 12 wonderful horses and ponies. Reports from professionals and the various schools and centers testify to the important role SARDA plays in all aspects of the pupils' mental, physical and social lives as well as their rehabilitation. It also does wonders for their self-esteem- their riders have won gold and silver medals at the Special Olympics and others are working towards the Paralympics.
SARDA is currently giving 5 lessons to 40 children per day but have a long waiting list of prospective students. There is thus an urgent need to train more instructors and to consolidate and expand premises and facilities at branches to accommodate these pupils and more horses. For many of these children their unique relationship with their horse is the first unaffected one in their lives. All you need to do is see the joy on the face of a child on a horse and you know that what SARDA is doing is truly worthwhile.
The Constantia Village management felt that SARDA is very much part of the community - it is literally a block or two away from The Constantia Village - and that the disabled are often at the bottom of the list when help is given.
THE CONSTANTIA VILLAGE WORKING TOGETHER WITH GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES
The low literacy levels in our schools are a major cause for concern. Various counter-measures have been implemented in schools, but achieving effective literacy is a challenge that goes beyond schooling and requires the support of families, communities and the business world.
Growthpoint Properties and its shopping centres are making a difference by investing in and supporting initiatives aimed at improving literacy levels in schools. Growsmart is a literacy competition supported by the Western Cape Education Department for learners in Grades 4, 5 and 6 from 200 participating primary schools in the Western Cape.
U-Turn equips people with skills and work opportunities to overcome homelessness. Their programme is designed by occupational therapists and is Christian faith based, with long term results for rehabilitation and reintegration. Six months after graduating from the programme, more than 80% of participants remain employed and sober.
The Constantia Village has two donation bins set up outside Truworths for clothing donations. For more information please visit www.homeless.org.za or contact the U-Turn Head Office on 021 674 6119.