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 Children  Kenya Project #34184

Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities

by Raising Futures Kenya
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities
The new keyboard is very popular in the music room
The new keyboard is very popular in the music room

Hello,

This is such a strange and difficult time. Many of us are separated from our loved ones, dealing with the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the daily news updates can take its toll on our mental health, we hope you are coping ok. 

Vic and I, and our team in Kenya, want you to know that we're thinking about you. Your support during this challenging time has brought light at a time of darkness and we thank you for continuing to stand by us and these children.

As I’m sure you may expect, the schools in Kenya are closed meaning most of the children we support are at home with their families, two children who don't have any family have remained in school and are being cared for by two teachers. Many of the families we work with have also lost their only source of income due to restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus. 

Thanks to your on-going support, and to our emergency response fund, we have been able to provide emergency support to several families who have lost their income and are struggling to provide for their children. We transferred emergency funds to them via mPesa transfer (a mobile phone currency) to adhere to social distancing rules. This enabled the families to buy a month’s supply of food, soap, hygiene products and cooking fuel. Some families were also at risk of being made homeless because they couldn't pay their rent so we have supported them with that too.

It is costing £30/$37 to provide a month of food and essentials for a family of 5 plus an additional £40/$49 for those who need rent support. It is a worrying time for all of the children and families but they know that we will stand by them now more than ever, thanks to the wonderful support of kind people like you - so we just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for enabling us to be there when we are needed the most.

Some lovely positive news is that when the children return to school they will be able to play on the new playground equipment we installed at the beginning of term and they'll be able to enjoy the new music room which includes a stereo to play music to the children and musical instruments including a keyboard which has been incredibly popular! Play and music equipment is so important for children with special educational needs, particularly the students who have autism as it gives them another sensory means of expressing themselves. We're hoping to provide even more equipment this year.

Work has started on constructing a learning laundry so the children can learn how to wash their clothes, preparing them for a more independent life after school.  We've also finished installing a large greenhouse at one of the schools which will enable them to grow crops which will supplement the breakfast, lunch and dinners for the students - helping to make the school more sustainable.

Thank you once again for standing by us. We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

With best wishes,

Kirsty Erridge - Director

kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk



A learning laundry for students
A learning laundry for students
The new greenhouse for growing crops
The new greenhouse for growing crops
Head teacher showing some of playground equipment
Head teacher showing some of playground equipment
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Here's Vincent in his classroom
Here's Vincent in his classroom

Vincent, who is now 12 years old, joined Percy Davies School in 2017 after his parents got frustrated with the school he was enrolled in as he had made very little progress.  Vincent is autistic and has echolaria which makes it very difficult for him to communicate and, understandably, makes him frustrated.  His inability to communicate initially meant that he was isolated and unable to socialise with his class peers.  Little by little Vincent started getting used to the school routine and adapted very well.  During bright days, Vincent used to hum some melodies.  After listening carefully, the teachers realized that they were the popular lyrics being played on local radio stations thus they found a way to keep him calm by singing along with him when he felt frustrated and were able to bond with him.

Vincent has become very confident and leads the class out for break and meal time, he likes helping the teachers (including pointing out when other students are misbehaving!).  He has acquired good fine and motor skills, is a budding photographer and is very organized.  He has shown a lot of interest in IT (information technology) and is enjoying taking part in training on how to use tablets provided by the government in the school.  Teacher Sarah said that they are all very pleased to see this progress in him.  We wish Vincent and the other students all the best as they get to learn the new curriculum with the evolving technology. 

The two schools have qualified and dedicated teachers who go out of their way to ensure that each student is able to thrive in their own different ability and fulfil their potential.  The lessons and facilities are tailored to providing for the special educational needs of each child. 

The past month has been busy at both schools with students returning for the new school year and new students joining them.  During the school holidays we made significant improvements to the accessibility for students with mobility limitations at Kirunguru School.  The site is very hilly so the new ramps will enable students to get around easier, particularly in the rainy season.  Next week new musical instruments will be delivered which will allow the students, many of whom have communication difficulties, an opportunity to express themselves.

In an effort to enable the schools to be more sustainable, we have planted more fruit tree seedlings in both schools to supplement the student’s lunches.  Percy Davies School are also installing a greenhouse this week to grow vegetables in.  Any surplus harvest can be sold to the local community to generate some income for the school to pay for materials.  

All of this would not have been possible without your continuous support and on behalf of Kirunguru and Percy Davies special schools, I would like to thank you for generous support towards Specialist care for 200 children with disabilities (34184) 

Your giving has gone along way to ensure that we are able to provide holistic care and an equalized education opportunity for children with disability and give them a voice in society, thank you.

Here's Vincent using the new tablet
Here's Vincent using the new tablet
New ramps at Kirunguru
New ramps at Kirunguru
More ramps at Kirunguru
More ramps at Kirunguru
Mary, Director of Operations, is planting trees
Mary, Director of Operations, is planting trees
Fruit trees ready for planting
Fruit trees ready for planting
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Darren reading the newspaper with his friends
Darren reading the newspaper with his friends

My visit to the special education schools is always heartwarming as I get to interact with children and learn from the teachers about progress made during the term. Whenever I ask about individual children and what they have achieved, I am grateful and excited at the same time. Their progress shows that there is hope for these children to not only overcome the obstacles their disabilities present, but to thrive and succeed thus become self-reliant in future. 

I met Darren for the first time on this visit, he clung to me and would not let go until the teacher whisked him away! Darren was first diagnosed with autism at the age of 4 years. His parents took him to a special day unit close to home but sadly this changed at the age of 7 when his parents separated and Darren was left under the care of his father. Darren’s father was unable to juggle work and caring for an autistic child as a single father and became overwhelmed. He decided to contact the Educational Assessment and Resource Centre (EARC) in order to find the best placement for his son. He was referred to Percy Davies Special School which provides boarding facilities for children with disabilities and in mid 2017, Darren joined the school as a boarder. 

Percy Davies Special School has become a safe haven for Darren and other children as the school provides holistic care and the individualist education program from specially qualified teachers who not only teach the necessary skills but love, care and support the children in their different abilities. 

According to teacher Sarah, when Darren joined Percy Davies, he had not developed basic skills; he had no speech and was very aggressive and frustrated as he couldn’t communicate his needs, hence the teachers had to constantly keep an eye on him lest he injured himself or other children. He was also malnourished and was reliant on diapers. It took close to one year of patience, persistence and motivation to teach him soft skills, speech therapy and activities of daily living. The teacher’s work eventually paid off as she proudly shared the major milestones Darren has achieved since he joined Percy Davies.  

Darren has learnt signs to express himself and has found a way to get the teachers’ attention by  dancing! He points out what he wants or takes the teacher’s hand to show her what he needs. He can understand and follow simple instructions and is able to use the washrooms independently now. In the last few months particularly, his health has significantly improved as he eats well with the appetite of a very active boy! More excitingly is that Darren has become social amongst his peers, he loves reading the newspapers and the teachers are encouraging him by ensuring the daily paper is available for him to peruse during his free time. 

In other news, both Percy Davies and Kirunguru have also been preparing their school farms in order to plant fruit seedlings during the short rains. This week mango and orange tree seedlings were planted at Percy Davies.  The fruit will be used for the meals and any excess can be sold to generate income for supplies. This is one of the new projects that Raising Futures Kenya is implementing in special schools to secure the sustainability and future growth of the special schools.

The schools have just closed for the holidays and the parents came for the end of term ceremony before taking their children home. The third term is the shortest in the school academic calendar as the learners spend 8 weeks in school before they break for the Christmas holidays. The ministry of education want to ensure that learners sitting the National Examinations, at both primary and secondary levels, are given ample time to prepare for their final exams. This year children with disabilities also joined the first cohort of the Competence Based Curriculum in mainstream schools. This was a nationwide exercise that selected learners from both Kirunguru and Percy Davies special schools participated in. Children are assessed in three areas namely; Activities of Daily Living, Communication and Integrated Learning Areas. 

On behalf of the children and staff of Percy Davies and Kirunguru special schools, we would like to thank you for your generous giving towards this programme as it is through your kind, on-going support, learners like Darren get not only special care and therapy but also learn differently. It is our desire that all the children are given equal opportunity to reach their full potential through tailored education and training.

Thank you for being a special part of our community.

Girls from Kirunguru on their last day of term
Girls from Kirunguru on their last day of term
Orange and mango tree seedlings ready for planting
Orange and mango tree seedlings ready for planting
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David
David

Thank you for enabling children like David to have a safe place to learn

By Sherry Waweru - Senior Programme Officer, Kenya

 

It is always exciting to visit Percy Davies, one of the special schools being supported by Raising Futures Kenya. This is because every time I pass through the school gates, heading towards the principal’s office, I always get a warm welcome from the learners who run out calling me ‘aunty‘!  

During my recent briefing with the principle he shared some news about a boy, David, who was brought back to attend the school by well-wishers after he was found wandering the busy streets of a town called Kenol.

David was among the first children to join Percy Davies special school when it was established to provide specialised care and education for children with a disability. For 7 years David, who has special educational needs, had made significant improvement in sensory, speech and fine motor skills. He could follow instructions given by the teachers and was thriving, but all this changed once his parents transferred him to a mainstream school since they believed that he was able to compete with other children. According to his class teacher, David was sadly bullied and discriminated against by other children which made him run away from the mainstream school and from home.

David became homeless and was alone on the streets begging for food and water, and was extremely vulnerable. It took the intervention of good people who traced his family and took him off the streets. They decided to sponsor him back to Percy Davies school where they believed he will receive the best care and support from qualified teachers and caregivers. It broke my heart when a learned about this story but am glad that David is now in a safe haven where his safety, security and general welfare is guaranteed. Percy Davies has reserved a place for former children who dropped out or transferred due to various circumstances. We will continue to support the two special schools to create awareness to ensure child protection is embraced by parents and the communities around them.

In other news, the schools have taken a recess to enable children to spend time with their families during the August holiday. According to Mr Samuel, the principle at Percy Davies special school, the children get very excited towards the end of the term as they look forward to going home and spending time with their parents and siblings. I also learnt that with the introduction of the competence based curriculum (CBC), learners from Percy Davies and Kirunguru special schools will sit for the foundation level assessment so that the examiner can monitor and provide evidence on the learners’ progress.  This is a nation-wide assessment being carried out for children in grade 3 at mainstream schools as well as special schools across the country. We wish all the best to our special school learners as they prepare for the assessment.

Lastly, there has been good progress made at Percy Davies school compound where the playground is being renovated to create enough space for additional play equipment but to also ensure safety of the children. Kirunguru special school has received new therapy equipment to enhance physio and occupational therapy that is being provided to each learner twice a month. 

We sincerely thank you for the generous contribution towards our specialised care for 200 children with disabilities, as we would not have done this work alone without your support. Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, or just bring us up in conversation and let people know what supporting our project means to you!

Thank you once again!

Sherry

Learners showing off their work
Learners showing off their work
Percy Davies motto
Percy Davies motto
Equipment being used for physiotherapy
Equipment being used for physiotherapy
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Lilian practicing braiding
Lilian practicing braiding

The month of May begun with lots of activities at Kirunguru and Percy Davies special schools as parents brought back their children for the second term after a one month recess. Apart from the daily lessons and physical therapies, both special schools engage their learners in extracurricular activities which have enabled them participate in the county and regional interschool competitions. This has positively impacted the learners as it has built their confidence and self-esteem, instilled discipline and enabled them to celebrate their abilities as they interact with other children and young people from different regions across Kenya. This experience also helps them feel appreciated, have sense of pride for their school.

According to Mr. Juma from Kirunguru special school, the leaners who participate in school games, scouts and music festivals and other out of school activities have enhanced their abilities to follow instructions, build trust and improve in life skills as they perform tasks with little supervision. While teacher Sarah from Percy Davies says that the learners’ confidence is high, they get excited going out of school as it breaks monotony being in the classroom, they exhibit leadership skills and discipline since they would not want to miss out the next competition. She also says that this has encouraged learners who lack of speech to find ways of narrating their stories to other learners and teachers.

In term two, the leaners are expected to participate in ball games scouting and music festivals and it is our desire to see more learners participate so that they all get the opportunity to enjoy and interact with other people Your support has enabled us to purchase some additional therapy equipment and source the services of a professional physiotherapist from a county hospital who visits the schools twice a month. Having fully equipped therapy rooms and the services from therapist have transformed the lives of the learners and other children with disability from the community. Peter, a learner from Kirunguru, has gained the confidence to stand on his own for the first time and make few steps after just a few sessions of mobility therapy. This has motivated his peers to have more interest in joining physiotherapy sessions.

Lilian’s story

Lilian joined Percy Davies special school at the age of 10. She had transferred from another institution after her parents got frustrated since they had not seen improvement from the time she was enrolled in that school. Luckily, they were advised by a parent from Percy Davies special school to try the institution and see whether a change of school with qualified teachers and holistic care will impact their child. When Lilian was enrolled, she had not developed fine motor skills but through physiotherapy sessions, she is now able to do pre-vocational skills like plaiting hair and beadwork. She can also draw different shapes and colouring them nicely, follow instructions in simple languages in English and Kiswahili. This has bought so much joy into Lilian’s family as there has been significant improvement as she can now perform simple tasks like assisting in house hold chores but most importantly, she is independent in performing activities of daily living (ADL) with little or no supervision.

We would not be celebrating these milestones if you did not come along to support our programme. Thank you for your continuous support towards this specialist care for 200 children with disabilities as it is through your generous giving that children like Peter and Lilian have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.

Children have fun at a music festival
Children have fun at a music festival
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Organization Information

Raising Futures Kenya

Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @raisingfutures
Project Leader:
Mary Mwangi
Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya
$7,837 raised of $35,000 goal
 
21 donations
$27,163 to go
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