In 1992, Esme van Zyl, a housewife, mother of three, and owner of Lollapot Creche, became involved with disabled children when she saw Arnold at Cotlands, Turffontein. She was a volunteer there at the time and Arnold was CP(Athetoid) due to a near drowning accident. He was 14 months old and his developmental age was only 6 weeks. She immediately applied to have him placed with her in Foster Care. He is still in her care, now already aged 26.
A short while later, she sold the Creche and went into real estate with Arnold in Foster Care, while taking in various profoundly handicapped and disabled children in Place of Safety. In order to do this, Esme registered with Department Social Development, and CMR. Over the years, Esme had numerous children in care, but also unfortunately needed to show children away due to restrictions, both financially and logistically.
In 2008 she joined Cresset House (Residential Care for Adults with Autism) as a volunteer and gained valuable experience during her 2 years there. She then joined Lethabo le Khusto (Residential Care for Adults with Autism) as a volunteer and spent a little more than 2 years here as well.. She also trained in Advanced First Aid with yearly refresher courses.
Over the last six years, Esme has had a number of people who asked her to open a residence for disabled children, and that is how Thorntree House, a long term residence for the disabled children, came to open it’s doors in May of 2015. Currently she has 2 CP children in her care a 23 month old profoundly handicapped Hypotonic level 5 CP baby (abandoned at birth),a 3 year old little boy with Spastic level 2 CP who is also deaf and blind. We also care for two 12 year old young girls.
We are also approved Foster Parents with Department Social Development Queenstown, Aberdeen and Kwa Mahlangu, ACVV Middelburg, CMR Graaff Reinet & Pretoria and Child Welfare East London.