Two ‘Hands Around the World’ volunteers are currently based with the disability centre in the town of Maua and are spending time with our partner school at Athi and the disabled children. There is plenty of work to be done in supporting the work of the disability project, and the volunteers are also spending time with the women from the self-help project; this project aims to encourage women from poor backgrounds, with a disability themselves or a disabled relative, to save and invest in small local initiatives with the support of an Area Community Facilitator. In this way, mothers are able to develop small income generating projects and this helps to support the family and pay for children’s school costs.
One of the things the volunteers have already achieved is to create a short Kenyan Sign Language booklet. Local staff had identified a serious problem with of lack of communication between deaf children and the project staff,
their parents and in their communities. This beginner’s guide can be circulated to help get people talking! For each word there is the Swahili, English, a symbol for those who can't read, as well as the sign.
HATW continues to support disabled members of the community, and is actively seeking a sponsoring partner to facilitate the development of an Orthopaedic workshop and to provide basic equipment for a therapy room. The core aim of this project is to enhance capacity and improve services to disabled children in the surrounding community – including those at Athi school - and to support ongoing therapy for those children.
The aim is to provide training for existing staff, and the opportunity for a new technician apprentice to be trained. Currently, the workshop is able to execute repairs and adaptations to existing mobility aids. Working with disabled children, there is a constant demand for new wheelchairs and aids as the children grow – these can be prohibitively expensive and continuing use of the inappropriate or out grown mobility supports can actually cause further harm. Developing the local provision would enable the correct ongoing support to disabled children as they grow, giving them the best potential for the future.
The centre already provides assessments of individual needs through outreach visits and family discussions, but lacks the resource to offer the range of solutions which may be life-changing.
Our commitment through HATW continues, and with access to adequate funding we hope to send a volunteer to support the workshop development and local outreach on a longer term placement.
Will you help us to achieve the funding necessary to jump-start the workshop development?
With the required initial investment, our local partners aim to use the workshop facility to provide some ongoing income as they are commissioned to provide equipment for children at local hospitals and clinics. In this way, they intend to finance ongoing community initiatives for the disabled.