Project #8203

Help Kenyan children with disabilities into school


We are looking forward to our delayed visit to the DCC and Athi school - David Steiner and I should be with our HATW partners in about two weeks to see how the work of the Disability Centre has progressed over the last months. We hope to see great strides in the therapy work and the activity of the improved workshop, supplying disability aids to the families in the Maua area. 

We also plan to visit the school at Athi to see the new classrooms being built, and will be working to identify areas for future development in partnership, as well as potential opportunities for volunteer placements.

Both DCC and the school at Athi have benefited from the experience and commitment of short term professional volunteers - physiotherapists, occupational therapists and teachers for children with a wide range of learning of physical disabilities could offer so much in a 2 or 3 month placement, supported by the HATW charity.

Have you ever considered sharing your skills and expertise in this way? We'd love to hear from you!

Contact to find out how you could help.

Athi School Children and Staff
Athi School Children and Staff

My trip to see family in Nairobi recently allowed me to visit the DCC and Athi school in order to see how the HATW projects are progressing. The last time I visited Maua was in January 2015 when the DCC director Oliver K was relatively new in his post. It was very good to see him again, now married and living locally. Oliver seems to be well established in his job but some other members of staff at the DCC have changed.

I had a good talk with Oliver about the DCC generally, including about who else supports them apart from HATW. The main donors are the Methodist Church and German NGO Kindernothilfe, with others including a Dutch NGO who focus on helping children in different projects across Kenya. I also talked to Francis G the government educational welfare officer who visits twice a week. He says that in the North Meru area awareness among parents and families of the importance for disabled children attending schools and therapy sessions has increased significantly over the last 5 years. Overall the DCC has quite a positive feeling about it.

HATW has provided skill-sharing short-term volunteer occupational and physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists and others, as well as funds for alterations to the therapy room, for extending the orthopaedic workshop and purchasing some new machinery including a plastic moulding kiln. The therapy room alterations are completed with a new doorway into the back of the workshop and fully decorated with fresh murals on the wall. It had looked a very cluttered space when we visited in 2015 but is now much improved. The new workshop machinery is all in use and a new 3 phase electricity supply has recently been installed. The storage area is much tidier. The one thing that has not progressed so far however is the workshop extension.

I asked Oliver what other things were needed at the DCC for the future and he mentioned a back-up generator as they have so many power cuts. It would need to be large enough to power the workshop machinery. He also suggested 2-3 laptops for the staff, as they only have one means of internet access. Oliver felt it would be very helpful for the web site and crowd funding applications. There is talk of creating a sub-office with therapy room at Miathene (?) half way from Maua to Meru, in order to reduce travelling time for the therapists to that area. This would involve purchasing land and putting up new buildings, which could include a larger workshop replacing the existing one in Maua.

The DCC has recently been donated 50 boxes of wheelchairs by Bristol-based UK charity Motivation for distribution among their clients. These are in a range of sizes and include conventional push type and manually operated cycle chairs. The cycle type are efficient and very much lighter than a timber model the DCC showed us last year.

I spent one day out with Oliver and the orthopaedic technician on visits. First stop was a home visit to deliver artificial limbs and a walking frame for a 2 year old with both legs amputated above the knee.

Then on to Irindiro Primary School located in a hilly area surrounded by tea plantations. We were welcomed and shown round by the friendly and caring headmaster. The school has a special unit for disabled children, staffed by 2 teachers. They have around 45 children officially on the register, but on our visit only 23 were in school. The unit occupies a single building divided into dormitories for girls and boys and with one quarter partitioned off for a classroom. There are only about 5 beds for the boys and 4 for the girls so these have to be shared by the children and the foam mattresses are extremely thin. Very basic facilities and an obvious need for more resources in the unit. We brought a sack of maize and another of beans with us for the children’s meals - these were very gratefully received as the unit was just running out of food and would have been forced to send everybody home in a couple of days time.

We then went on to Athi Special School where the great news is that a permanent water supply has finally been connected to the storage tank and two outside stand pipes. The therapy room has been completed and painted and is being used - the OT and physio were due to make their regular visit the following day. The recent builder seems to have done a good job. Work was also in progress during our visit on the base for the new classrooms.

Esther the headmistress has recently purchased a calf so that they can have a source of milk, and intends to replace the pig she had bought and which sadly died. She is looking for more funds for this and for getting chickens. Generally, everything seems to be going well at the school.

Thank you for your help and support for these lovely children, carers and families!

Oliver in the newly refurbished DCC Therapy Room
Oliver in the newly refurbished DCC Therapy Room
Athi School new Classrooms
Athi School new Classrooms' Foundations
Athi School Therapy Room completed
Athi School Therapy Room completed
DCC Operations HQ
DCC Operations HQ


As I write this report, I am making plans for my forthcoming trip to visit our DCC partners and the disability school at Athi. I am delighted that I will be travelling with the HATW Executive Officer, David Steiner, who will be staying in Maua for a week before he travels on to visit other HATW projects in Zambia.

It is several years since I last visited the DCC and Athi school, so I am looking forward to seeing the recent developments. I am hoping to see the new therapy room at Athi school in use, with the children having access to regular therapy on site. Also, the improvements to the DCC workshop, including the upgraded power supply, should mean I see significant changes there. Our visit will enable us to evaluate progress and identify new development areas going forward.

During our visit, we hope to meet with the Disability Centre manager, Oliver, and the DCC staff team, as well as with Esther and the teaching team at the school. We hope to consolidate the plans for building the classroom block at the school (the money is now available).

The water supply to the school is still a problem – though piped water is available locally, the school still manages with only two standpipes for the children’s use; washroom facilities that have been in place for some years are still not connected to a regular water supply. We hope to be able to prompt local discussions and solutions to address this ongoing problem.

The 2015 annual report for the DCC has been published and identifies the good work which is continuing through the work of the staff team. This includes direct work with over a thousand children from the surrounding community. There is also wider support through 3280 mothers involved in 164 self-help groups (promoted by DCC), positively impacting a huge number of children in the local community.

The work of the DCC to support children with disabilities continues through:

  • Direct referrals
  • Playgroups Centre-based assessment, therapy and the provision of mobility aids
  • Home based follow up Community outreach clinics and school linked support

Identified challenges going forward at the DCC include:

  • insufficient staffing, for which ongoing funding is still being sought;

  • the continuing need to effectively educate and inform families and the local community, to ensure that children with disabilities are identified early and receive appropriate help.

What can you offer by way of help?

We place skilled volunteers with partner projects for 3 weeks to 3 months to share their expertise and encourage the local staff.

We also look for funding partners, who are willing to sponsor initiatives like classroom building or financing the water supply to the school.

Contact for more information or to arrange a volunteering visit; or donate directly to making a difference in the lives of children living with health challenges who attend Athi Special school.



We are delighted that Hands Around the World has been able to identify sponsorship for building the much-needed classrooms at Athi School in 2016!

The project will enable the building of a block of four classrooms, together with toilet and water facilities; the aim is to start the work in mid-February and to complete the work within a year, providing the disabled children with water-tight classrooms and enough space to teach the children in smaller groups. The work on the therapy room, together with planned classroom building, means that the children at Athi Special School will have much-needed improved facilities.

An update from Oliver K, manager of the Disability Centre (DCC): “We completed painting the therapy room at Athi before we closed for the Christmas break and the building is looking good. The DCC workshop and power connection has also been completed and we are just about to start use of the equipment that relied on higher load of electricity and hopefully we can now get started in producing more items to better the lives of the children we serve.”

A planned project visit to our Athi/DCC partners will enable us to evaluate progress of previous initiatives in person, see the building work and assess other needs.

How would you like to help these children living with disabilities? Can you spare time to visit and share your skills – physiotherapy or specialist teaching? Or do you have technology skills in making individual mobility aids that you could share in the workshop at DCC?

Contact for more information or to arrange a volunteering visit; or donate directly to making a difference in the lives of children living with health challenges who attend Athi Special school.

Athi Special School therapy room, just completed
Athi Special School therapy room, just completed
DCC workshop 3-Phase electricity installation
DCC workshop 3-Phase electricity installation
Athi therapy room progress
Athi therapy room progress


Changes can sometimes come slowly! Challenging problems are still faced by children with disabilities in Kenya although the DCC disability centre does a fantastic job of providing practical support to families in the Maua area.

In their workshop, triple phase electricity is being installed, and constructing an extension to the workshop is also due to start shortly.

Nearby, Athi school provides accommodation and basic education for about 100 children with disabilities. Recognition of Athi as a disability school by Kenyan education authorities was a major step forward, but there are still huge challenges to address.

Work on the therapy room at the school, with funding sourced by Hands Around The World, is nearing completion and at last the children will have a place for regular treatment on site, with visits by therapists from DCC.

The biggest challenge for Athi at the moment is not having good classrooms. The one they use is completely dilapidated, especially now, because of the rains. All the children are squeezing up into the one classroom, borrowed from the regular primary school next door.

Hands Around the World partners look to provide regular professional volunteer visits and practical support. What can you do to help?

Have you building, physiotherapy or disability reaching skills you can share? A month or more for a visit? Would you like to get a volunteer team together to help in building new classrooms at Athi school? Or maybe your disability school could provide encouragement by partnering Athi and sharing experiences and resources. Contact for more information...

Almost there!
Almost there!

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Organization Information


Location: MONMOUTH, MONMOUTHSHIRE - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
David Steiner
Executive Officer
Monmouth, Monmouthshire United Kingdom

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