The Miracle of Kharberd Orphanage

We start the year with preparation for a new and exciting project. Did you know that horses are the most loyal animals? With the help of a horse a person cannot only have a great experience and enjoy moments of freedom, but they can also lean on them as a means of therapy if they have a physical disability.

Few people in Armenia actually know about hippo therapy – or the process of alleviating the pain from a disease with the help of a horse. There are only two places in Armenia that have hippo therapy. One of them is in the village of Ushi, and the other one is at the Kharberd Orphanage near Yerevan.

A couple of days ago the Ayo! team visited Kharberd, played with some of the kids, and also saw how hippo therapy benefits the kids who have physical disabilities. The orphanage has 300 kids and each child has some kind of disability. They have five beautiful horses – Taiga, Sabba, Asifa, Aria and Rakhsh – on the grounds that are used for hippo therapy. The children can ride the horses and learn to care for them. These “hero” horses make a difference in the daily lives of these kids. We definitely noticed how affectionate they were with the kids and how the kids bonded with them.

Hippo therapy at Kharberd is not only for the children who live at the orphanage; it’s also for the whole region. People from nearby villages can bring their disabled kids for therapy sessions free of charge. Specialists at the orphanage say that just one interaction with the horse can help to improve a child’s behavior and their attitude toward life. The horses are able to motivate kids, help them to overcome challenges, and gain new interests in life. It is simply impossible to transform into words the feeling and the positive flow of energy I got just from seeing children interact with the horses. Even if some of the kids feel pain at the moment you can see a smile appear on their faces as soon as they see the horse or touch them. They appear relaxed when they start to ride the horses and it’s amazing to see this change taking place.

You will find out more later as to why we visited Kharberd; it will all be revealed through our next project. In the meantime try following Sabba, one of Kharberd’s horses on Twitter. https://twitter.com/Dr_Sabba

Talk to you soon,

Helena