Wellbeing from the ground up at new Bundy farm
With two decades of experience working in the education industry and helping young children who live with disabilities, Kamala Paech has built a farm specialising in animal therapy programs.
The Branyan-based business called From the Ground Up Wellbeing Farm offers a diverse range of programs designed to meet the requirements of clients and is open to NDIS participants of all ages.
"I've always worked in the early education sphere with different developmental programs and I saw the need for an alternative form of therapy for people living with disabilities, so opening this centre was very important to me," Kamala said.
"Our goal is to provide a therapeutic setting and safe space for clients to express themselves, be creative and have the freedom to make their own decisions."
The wellbeing farm assists people living with disabilities, developmental delays, depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder through animal assisted learning and support.
With the help of their animals who were rescued or in need of a loving home, Kamala said she can tailor sessions to suit each individual client and their needs.
"Most of our animals are rescues because we are very passionate about giving animals in need of a home a really nice purpose and place to live where they are cared for and loved.
"A lot of our clients can often relate to that because they are in need of somewhere safe to come and express themselves in many different ways."
Developing their own personality traits, each animal encountered a rough start to life before the farm rescued them with many facing rejection from their mums or being the runt of their litters.
The heartfelt farm is home to lots of different characters from sweet calf Gracie and cheeky twin goats Ernie and Eddie.
Gentle lamb Bo-Peep, humorous pig Wilbur and cuddly Hei Hei the chicken who has developmental delays and vision loss also call it home among others.
With seven long years in the making Kamala and her husband worked tirelessly, purchased a bare block and built the house and farm 'from the ground up.'
Undergoing many renovations, the couple transformed the property into what can only be described as something pretty special.
But Kamala quickly fell in love with the farm and rescue animals and decided she wanted to make a difference by sharing it with people who might benefit most from the concept.
"I was fortunate enough to grow up on a farm where we milked the cows, checked the eggs, grew the small crops and as a child that really grounded me and gave me a purpose," Kamala said.
"Our ultimate goal was to give our three daughters the opportunity to experience that similar upbringing we had but when I started caring for a little boy with autism I saw the benefits, so that dream grew into wanting to help others."
Farm activities range from hands-on interaction through bottle feeding, collecting eggs and grooming while learning to have empathy for animals, their different social mannerisms and needs.
Filled with sensory-rich exercises the farm also has a native beehive, worm farm, work bench as well as gardening and egg incubating programs that gives participants the chance to observe life cycles.
"We really focus on those personal domains and whatever the individual is working on whether it be social, emotional, cognitive or general life skills," Kamala said.
"Children can plant a seedling, take it home and care for it or observe the life cycle and development of a chicken egg which also teaches them about patience, perseverance, decision-making, problem-solving and how to follow a routine.
"At the moment we're using the little work bench to make chicken feeders which is all about fine and gross motor skills and planning around what those baby chickens need to survive."
In addition Kamala said she also works with organisations where some of her horses travel with her to other sites if the premises are suitable.
"Horses talk in different ways - through their ears, eyes, tails and lips and a lot of our clients are also non-verbal so this helps to teach them to communicate through body cues, learn about personal space, trust and other important skills," she said.
"We will implement that into activities where we will set-up an obstacle course and complete it depending on how much the client requires.
"A lot of people also have attachment issues so we work with them to release that attachment from our horses which is a physical way of understanding that and a really nice way to bring that into their real lives."
Kamala said she one day hopes to take her miniature pony to the children's hospital in Brisbane to visit patients.