Hopelands Society for Mentally Handicapped Children

Hopelands Society for Mentally Handicapped Children



The Hopelands Society for Mentally Handicapped Children was established in 1959. The aim of the society was to find sheltered employment opportunities for mentally handicapped within the area.

The society was started by Frances McGill family with the assistance of local Rotarians. McGill felt that there were no schools for the mentally handicapped in Rhodesia and had encountered difficulties with her own mentally handicapped son. She engaged the help of Rudolph Steiner, a pioneer in the world-wide treatment of the mentally handicapped which prompted her to start Hopelands.

The home, Montgomery Heights, was donated by a Umvukwes couple. It originally had 10 boys, four from Ingutsheni. Hopelands provided a home-like environment instead of the usual institutions.

Over time, it became the Hopelands Trust. The Retarded Children’s Aid Society later amalgamated their school with Hopelands. In 1969, the Minister of Health, Ian McClean, opened a new training centre at St Catherines House. By 1971, the Trust had 217 residents across four residental institutions employing 30 resident and 21 non-resident staff.

In 1981, the Hopelands Trust was amalgamated into the Zimcare Trust.



  • Profiles of Rhodesian Women, 1976
  • Rhodesian Commentary, 1969
  • The Rotarian, July 1963
  • Geoff Brakspear
  • Sandy Robertson