Uhambo is pleased with the progress we have made with our pilot Wheelchair Center in Kenya, despite some of the usual delays and setbacks that are quite common for working in this region. Thanks to your support, we have:
We are now developing the next phase for the Center and will share more as these plans come together.
In the meantime, we have posted a new project on GlobalGiving that supports redesigning and delivering our Ndinogona “I Can” stimulation program for an older youth population in order to design relevant activities and training on income generation opportunities. We invite you to check it out and share it with your friends!
Thanks for joining our journey!
Uhambo’s Wheelchair Center in Nairobi is ramping up!
Uhambo delivered two trainings just this month to occupational therapists to develop and empower them to provide efficient and effective seating services and caregiver training to people with disabilities and their families.
The training was provided by our local Kenya partner, Nancy Mbugua, of Nanaquips who is a regional trainer of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package, and Megan Giljam, an occupational therapist from Shonaquip of South Africa.
The training covered important modules including:
Disability practitioners in this part of Kenya are not trained on these topcis and people with disabilities are not provided this level of service – that is why this training is so crucial to the launch of the Wheelchair Center. People in need may be provided a chair (and most likely an inappropriate one) but have not been properly fitted for it, do not know how to maintain it and face exclusion from their community. This Train the Trainer approach will allow us to reach more communities and users and create real impact. Participants were extremely pleased with their experience – they learned new skills and increased their professionalism to a new level.
The Acting Director of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities closed the training. (The NCPD is a semi-autonomous government agency whose mission is to mainstream disability issues in all aspects of socio-cultural, economic and political development.) He, too, confirmed that this level of training is necessary and missing in their region. Media was also invited and are keen to follow up with Nancy about our activities.
Our final stage of training will occur in the next few months. Many thanks to you for making this initial stage a big success and setting the stage for future development of the center!
PS We have met our initial funding goal on GlobalGiving and we will expand the project soon to show the next stage. However, donations can still be accepted on the project page!
Thanks to your support, the development of the wheelchair center is progressing nicely!
To give some context on the state of disabilities in this area….In Kenya 80% of the disabled population is located in the northwestern region of the country which consists primarily of tribal lands. Injuries from tribal wars are the leading cause of disabilities in this region resulting in amputations and spinal cord injuries. This region has been largely ignored for decades by the government and there is a tremendous need for services.
President Kenyatta and the First Lady are very supportive of people with disabilities and inclusion efforts. In fact, each regional government must include a representative with a disability. (Uhambo has a connection to the First Lady and as the center develops further, we will invite her for a visit. We concluded that it was a bit premature to invite her in November.)
In November our team conducted a successful site evaluation at the Nairobi wheelchair center to plan next steps and set the center up for success. As a result of this visit, we have identified that there is a need in the community for education, awareness and training on disability topics – training for occupational therapists on wheelchair seating practices, training to community members about disability awareness and training for caregivers and family members on proper care of a child who has a disability. Over the next few months we will be focusing on establishing and delivering these trainings from the center. This will provide a strong foundation with the community to build on in the future.
Our next phase of development includes providing training to other occupational therapists in the region on proper wheelchair seating techniques. We are proud that our on-the-ground partner, Nancy (pictured above) is one of a small group of designated WHO African Trainers in this area of corrective seating. We will then work with Nancy to receive enterprise training while we pursue delivering training services.
As some of you know, an adventurous team of four UK individuals are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (as you read this!) and chose to raise funds for Uhambo as a tribute to their personal challenge. Their fundraising page is on GlobalGiving’s UK site. Thank you to all of our new UK friends!
We are grateful to each and every one of you for contributing to this innovative project that we intend to replicate in other parts of Africa. We couldn’t do it without you!
Dear generous donors for the Kenya Wheelchair Center,
Thanks to your support, our Uhambo South Africa team is in Kenya now assessing the site and the community in order to develop partners and determine what level of training will be needed by the Kenya team. Their findings will inform the next phase of business training for the center management team and technical training for the technicians.
An important Uhambo champion will be in Kenya next week for a UN Conference and we anticipate that he will be very instrumental in setting up meetings with government officials and corporate contacts. He is also hoping to arrange for a brief visit by an influential Kenyan political figure who has an interest in disability matters. When this is confirmed I'll be sure to post it on our Facebook page!
I hope to have photos within the next week or so, as well, and look forward to sharing them with you.
We are still fundraising to meet our Matching Funds goal and have until mid-November to reach it. Please share our project and goal with your circles. Let them know that you have supported our work and you hope they will, too. And if you would like to host your own Fundraiser Page, just like your friend or family member did, please be in touch with me. We have had great success with this method and it is very effective for a small grassroots organization like Uhambo.
Thank you again for joining us on our journey.
Uhambo | journey or traveling forward
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