Since 1990, the Shumbashaba Community Trust program has been carrying out some amazing work in one of the most difficult parts of the world, Johannesburg, South Africa. Their ‘Horses Helping People’ initiative is striving to improve the spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing of the young people who live there, by introducing them to horses and bringing some equestrian love into their lives.
There are many programs around the world that harness the power horses have to impact meaningfully on humans, and Shumbashaba has tapped into this ‘magic’ and developed therapeutic riding and non-riding programs for its members. Simply being around horses – touching them, brushing them, talking to them – has shown to have boosted confidence and had calming effects on many of the troubled youths in the poverty stricken, high crime area of Diepsloot, an outer suburb of Johannesburg. Many of these youths become bitten by the equestrian bug and want to learn more about the world of horses. Shumbashaba’s work enables these at-risk youth to experience all the positive emotional, psychological and physical benefits horses can bring to our lives. They get to learn about how to look after, feed, clean and love the horses, and in the process gain some valuable knowledge about basic life skills.
The other therapeutic programs Shumbashaba offers include hippotherapy for people with disabilities, therapeutic riding, and equine assisted psychotherapy and counseling. Horses have proven to be a powerful way of helping people restore a sense of self-worth and purpose, key ingredients necessary to improve lives and help people reach their full potential…and Shumbashaba taps into that.
Shumbashaba has gone from a one-woman operation offering only a therapeutic riding service to people with disabilities, to a registered not-for-profit Trust offering a range of Horses Helping People programs, that have touched the lives of over 5000 people.
Recent research has shown that Shumbashaba members experience an increase in self-confidence, a sense of purpose and hope for a better future. What more could you ask for globetrotters?
Image credits: Four Ways Review; Shumbashaba; Random Acts of Kindness