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Swift Academy

Swift Academy provides therapeutic intervention within a stimulating environment, designed to nurture the development of children with special needs and developmental delays – those with Autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, Fetal alcohol syndrome, etc.

We provide guidance and support to the families of these vulnerable children. For every child that enters Swift Academy’s doors, a personal developmental program is written after the child has been formally evaluated and assessed by our team of educational and developmental specialists.

Throughout the therapeutic process the child’s progress is continually monitored and evaluated to ensure that therapeutic intervention conducted is in direct response to the child’s ever changing abilities and competencies. Swift Academy, being a project of Barnswallows, shares a common belief in following a holistic approach when intervening in the lives of children with special needs. They are put onto a dairy-free/wheat-free diet, with specific supplements to enhance immunity and neuro-development, while being exposed to a range of therapeutic interventions.

Through these early interventions and with the support of the family, we see astonishing progress within limited time frames.



At Swift Academy we do an initial assessment with learners which focuses on developmental level, sensory problems, small and greater motor development and overall developmental fall outs. 


        1.  We focus strongly on diet which is our starting point with every child.  

        2.  Scio sessions are done regularly combined with the nutritional counseling sessions to ensure that our

             parents know how and where to start and continue on a diet specific for each child.   

        3.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is provided to our kids as well as to the general public.


Our Team


René Testa (Director/Project Manager)

René is the Director and Founder of Barnswallows Home for the abandoned.

René’s background is in early childhood education and development, helpfully coupled with qualifications in psychology, counseling and nutrition.

After raising her own 3 children with great passion, she furthered her studies in Psychology and Practical theology. As full time Pastor in the AFM she headed the Counseling Centre of the Theological Seminary in Aucklandpark for a few years, after which she started her own importing business while doing counselling from home.

She specifically felt God imposing on her a calling to give herself fulltime for abandoned and neglected children. In 2009 she opened her Home to these babies, together with her daughter, Monique. For the past 7 plus years she has been developing the Barnswallows project at her home in Weltevredenpark, Roodepoort. Her studies in counselling and nutrition put her onto a path of desiring to help others get healing in spirit, soul and body, and helped in identifying problems with abandoned babies received in states of malnutrition, HIV and Fetal alcohol syndrome. All the divisions of Barnswallows follow the same protocol of Natural and Green Living with great success.

In June 2014 Swallows Nest Benoni opened its doors, and during April 2015 Swift Academy was birthed with the aim of helping children on the special needs spectrum to overcome their delays.


Monique du Plessis (Director/Founder)

Monique is 31 years old, married to Jaco-Louis. She is the co-founder of Barnswallows Home for the Abandoned.

After completing a successful IEB Matric at Helpmekaar College, Monique started her career as a childminder on the Isle of Jersey, which took her all over the globe as nanny, and eventually as governess, where she crept into the hearts of so many families, training their kiddies for life. They have been blessed with Mari (20 months) and Hugo (2 months), their own pigeon pair.

She has an Advanced Diploma in Business Management from the UK, has held various retail and event coordination positions, amongst others coordinating architectural events in order to fund her studies.

In her final year at Monash University studying BA International Studies & Geography and Environmental Science with Child and Youth Care Development, she was awarded the Dean of Arts Recognition Award for Academic Excellence.

She has a heart for vulnerable babies and children and has contributed greatly to the success of Barnswallows.

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