With two decades of experience in the education industry and helping children with disabilities, Kamala Paech has built a farm that specializes in animal therapy programs.
Branyan-based From the Ground Up Wellbeing Farm offers a variety of programs tailored to customer needs and is open to NDIS participants of all ages.
« I have always worked with various development programs in the field of early education and saw the need for an alternative form of therapy for people with disabilities. So it was very important to me to open this center, » said Kamala.
« Our goal is to provide clients with a therapeutic environment and a safe space in which they can express themselves, be creative and have the freedom to make their own decisions. »
The wellbeing farm supports people with disabilities, developmental delays, depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorders through animal-based learning and support.
With the help of her animals that have been rescued or in need of a loving home, Kamala can tailor the sessions to each individual client and their needs.
« Most of our animals are rescue workers because we are very passionate about giving animals that need a home a really good cause and a place to live and love.
« Many of our customers can often relate to it because they need a safe place to express themselves in many different ways. »
Each animal developed its own personality traits and got off to a difficult start in life before the farm rescued them, with many rejected by their mothers or the rest of their litters.
Many different characters live on the farm from the heart, including the cute calf Gracie and the cheeky twin goats Ernie and Eddie.
The gentle lamb Bo-Peep, the humorous pig Wilbur and the cuddly chicken Hei Hei, which has developmental delays and loss of vision, call it home, among other things.
After seven long years, Kamala and her husband worked tirelessly, buying a bare block and building the house and farm « from scratch ».
The couple has undergone several renovations and transformed the property into something that can only be described as very special.
But Kamala quickly fell in love with the farm and rescued animals and decided that she wanted to make a difference by sharing it with people who could benefit most from the concept.
« I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm where we milked the cows, checked the eggs, grew the small crops and as a kid that really grounded me and gave me a purpose, » Kamala said.
« Our ultimate goal was to give our three daughters the opportunity to experience this similar upbringing, but when I started caring for a young boy with autism I saw the benefits that this dream became a desire to be shared with others to help. »
Activities on the farm range from hands-on interaction, bottle feeding, egg collecting and caring to learning to empathize with animals, their diverse social manners and needs.
The farm is full of sensory exercise and has a native beehive, worm farm, workbench, and gardening and egg hatching programs that participants can use to observe life cycles.
« We really focus on these personal areas and what the individual is working on, whether it’s social, emotional, cognitive or general life skills, » said Kamala.
“Children can plant a seedling, take it home and care for it, or watch the life cycle and development of a hen’s egg, which also teaches them about patience, perseverance, decision making, problem solving and following a routine.
« Right now we’re using the little workbench to make chicken feeders that focus on fine and gross motor skills and planning what these baby chickens need to survive. »
Kamala also said she also works with organizations where some of her horses travel with her to other locations when the premises are suitable.
« Horses speak in different ways – through their ears, eyes, tails and lips and many of our clients are also non-verbal. This helps them communicate through body stimuli, learn about personal space, trust and other important skills. » said.
« We will translate this into activities where we set up an obstacle course and complete it based on the client’s needs.
« Lots of people have attachment issues too, so we work with them to break that attachment from our horses. This is a physical way of understanding this, and a really good way to bring this into their real life. »
Kamala said she hoped one day she could take her miniature pony to Brisbane Children’s Hospital to visit patients.
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