We at FAR have long adopted the vision that every child has the right to be safe, and to enjoy a full and a decent life in conditions that ensure dignity and facilitate the child’s socializing with the community. Children with mental or physical disabilities are no exception.

We are happy to announce that Ayo! has successfully completed its Hippotherapy project in the Kharberd Orphanage. Launched last year, the project raised funds to build a special carriage to support hippotherapy classes at the Kharberd Orphanage – a home to around 240 children with different mental and physical disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome.

On May 4 of this year, the project was completed with a grand celebration. The children and the orphanage staff celebrated together with guests and hippotherapy professionals from Switzerland and the Netherlands, who provided hippotherapy trainings to the orphanage staff.

“It’s been only a week, but we see how open the trainers are to receive our ideas, says trainer Kirsten Ursem from the Netherlands, “and we see a difference in how they work with the children and the horse. We work on balance, symmetry, and head control – all aspects that are supported by the movements of the horse. It’s a wonderful gift for the orphanage to combine the uses of the horse with the carriage, and children are now able to enjoy being outside together. Now, we can work on the social and emotional part of the hippotherapy.”

The children of the Kharberd Orphanage have grown up in relative isolation from their community and the rest of the world. Many are confined to wheelchairs, and others have developmental disorders that affect their ability to interact and connect with others. Every single staff member at the orphanage does everything possible to help the children learn and socialize like all other children. In this respect, horses have become part of the “family” at the orphanage. Thanks to the horses, children can expand their horizons, ease their pains, and enjoy themselves while spending time with friends.

While hippotherapy has been practiced at Kharberd since 2012, the therapists had only been able to assist one child at a time based on the available equipment. Now, with the special carriage attached to the horse, the hippotherapy team will be able to conduct therapy sessions with several children simultaneously, ultimately impacting more lives.

Thanks to the generous and kind support of the Ayo! donors, the funds were fully raised and the special carriage is now at the Kharberd Orphanage.

Thank you for saying Ayo! to hippotherapy!