How do you make a difference?
A word from our Founder
Iris House was founded in 2011 by Sue van der Linde. After her return from England where she worked at Julias House Children’s Hospice in Dorset.
After my return to South Africa, I saw a large gap in the services that existed for special needs children, which was free, quality, respite care, and therapies. I had seen first hand with my work in England just how much the special needs children in our care and their parents had benefited from this form of care.
In the first two years of existence, Iris House had its offices at my home, and we could only offer community-based respite care. However, after finding a derelict house on the grounds of Stikland Estate this all changed. We were able to convert the house into a world-class hospice that offers every child in our care a safe environment to learn, play, and enjoy themselves.
The hospice grounds are set up like a small farm and have sheep, chickens, a therapy dog, and two beautiful therapy horses. It also has a sensory room and sensory garden plus a fully equipped outside and undercover play area.
Late in 2019, Iris House was awarded a child protection license from the Department of Social Development. One of our main goals is to train safety and foster parents in order for them to be able to care for special needs children at risk. An overarching goal is to provide a safe space by way of our helpline for carers and the general public to report any incidences of abuse against special needs children and young adults.
The latest extension of our services is our Doggy Daycare – adult workshop. Here young adults over 18 are paid a stipend to learn dog behavior, under professional guidance. We will be adding a grooming parlor and dog food production area in 2021, with the aim of employing more special needs young adults to train up and eventually place in a similar mainstream working environment.