On Amado’s Yard

We have a free programme for those who will benefit from therapy, but cannot afford it.

The programme consists of weekly sessions, including both group and individual therapy on and around horses. The beneficiaries interests, needs and abilities are identified before the therapeutic riding experience, with ongoing assessment. This suggests the best suitable stimulation of skills and emotional development and promotes the most successful outcome for each individual.

Girl on horse

The AIM of therapy with horses is to free participants from their shackles, be it a wheelchair or emotional constraints. Interaction on or beside the horse improves motor skills and mental development. It nurtures self-confidence and promotes independence that will open doors to a productive future.

The brave visitors to AMADO’s yard yearn for love and respect. Here they are showered with both love and respect while they, in turn, learn that animals also deserve their kindness.

AMADO’s GOAL  is to help beneficiaries reign in their fears and to believe in themselves, to take charge of their own lives, to develop into empowered individuals who can stand on their own feet, proud and tall,  while they take their rightful place in our communities.

After each visit to AMADO’s yard, they take their smiles home and they bring happiness to their families. As our riders gain independence, so do their care givers,  often a family member. Without the need to provide full-time assistance, carers are able to seek employment and earn much-needed wages.

When AMADO was established in 2008 we had seven children in wheelchairs. A year later not one of them needed their wheelchairs full-time any longer.

M'Lani profile

The Founder

M’Lani Basson is a Neurofeedback practitioner trained as a trauma counsellor. She was first introduced to equine-assisted therapy in Scotland in 2003. Her love of horses had started on her parents’ smallholding in Paarl many years earlier, as she sat in her kiddie saddle when she was but three-years old and later as she shared her adolescent ups and downs with her four-legged friends.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Stellenbosch University, M’Lani spread her wings. The work with disabled children at a therapy centre on the outskirts of Edinburgh, was voluntary. Her income came from a neighbouring farm where she cleaned 20 stables a day and exercised the horses while assisting a herd of pregnant cows during night-time labour.  The Scots must have thought, just another mad South African. But she was earning pounds that would enable her to open a therapy centre in her hometown. And that apprenticeship schooled her well. Today she saves on veterinary bills by inoculating her horses herself and dressing wounds.

Before the arrival of the therapy horses on the same small holding where she had grown up, M’Lani worked as builder’s assistant to cut costs on building the stables, enclosures and riding rink. AMADO Animal-assisted Therapy Centre opened its gates as a non-profit organisation in 2008.

”My days are filled with joy and a sense of achievement. A hug and a word of praise bring stars to heavy hearts while the sensation of movement on a horse’s back brings absolute wonderment to those who only know the restraint of a wheelchair,” she says.

Qualifications and Awards:

Since 2008 M’Lani Basson has been quite busy. Many awards and qualifications followed amongst others:

  •  Named “Cape Town Legend”
  •  Completed course in Suicide Prevention
  •  Became internationally certified as a Neurofeedback practitioner
  •  Started Private Neurofeedback practice
  •   Completed course in Sport Psychology
  •   Finalist for Clarins South Africa’s Most Dynamic Woman of the Year
  •   Registered as Trauma Counsellor
  •   One of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans
  •   BA Honours Degree in Psychology
  •   Mayoral award in appreciation of service rendered in the Social    Services Field
  •   Diploma in Animal Assisted Activity through the Ethology Academy of South Africa
  •  National Jet Community Award in recognition of dedication and commitment
  •  Merit Award for Services rendered to humankind through Rotary

Rotary chairman Trevor Harris applauded M’Lani for her “selflessness exhibited to others and the care shown to people less fortunate” and said “I have seldom met someone who can both inspire and encourage me with hope and the positive feeling that there is a future for our children.”

Cheque acc: AMADO – First National Bank, South Africa – Acc nr: 62160574771 Branch code: 200110 – Swift code: FIRNZAJJA
NPO Number:059-752NPO   Tax Exemption Number: 930 027 547
+27(0)83 604 4037 | info@amado.co.za