Children in the Western Cape from less fortunate communities are very likely to suffer from conditions such as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy can give birth to babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (sometimes known as FASD). FASD is the umbrella term for a range of disorders. These disorders can be mild or severe and can cause physical and mental birth defects. FAS is a severe form of the condition. People with FAS may have problems with their vision, hearing, memory, attention span, and abilities to learn and communicate. While the defects vary from one person to another, the damage is often permanent.
These children often end up not completing school and end up in gangs, using drugs which ultimately lead to prison or early death. It is our aim to assist children from less fortunate communities and through the help of the horse teach and assist them with vital skills to prepare them for their future.
Since we relocated to Altydgedacht we have reached out to the farm children living nearby to include them in our riding program. The aim firstly was to educate them about horses in order for them to respect the space and the horses, but also to empower them by exposing them to a skill that is not always within reach in their community. Most of the kids that started with us in 2016 are still coming every week to attend the horse-riding lessons. The age group currently ranges from 5-year-olds to 16-year-olds and we accommodate an average group of 15 kids. For them to continue their riding, they need to attend school during the mornings and adhere to the rules of the yard. We also aim to give the children a nutritious snack when attending the horse-riding sessions.