A loving, caring home, where their needs are understood?
The chance to go to school, learn and make new friends?
A supportive local community?
Opportunity, and hope for the future?
Yala’s children with disabilities need all these things, and with a little help we believe they can achieve them.
The Urafiki team in Kenya has already made a huge difference to the lives of many young people with learning and physical disabilities, by providing medical expertise and equipment, and finding sponsored places at schools with specialist staff, but they would like to help many more.
Their approach is always very focused, with an emphasis on working with each child and their family to identify the most effective way to help. Some needs will require huge resources to be tackled effectively; but for most young people, relatively low-cost interventions can make a real difference. Take a look at the stories of children who have already been helped, and you’ll see how proper support and medical expertise is transforming their lives.
The Urafiki team draws on medical support from within Kenya, and has also forged links with skilled professionals in the UK, who offer help with diagnosis, speech therapy, and ways to alleviate the devastating after-effects of cerebral malaria. The team also supports adults with learning and physical disabilities.
The specialist school in Yala could do with more resources, but the teachers are caring, and work hard to encourage rehabilitation and integration, sometimes helping children with disabilities to join mainstream education. School gives these young people a chance to come out of the dark mud huts where they have been spending their days, confined and isolated, to meet new friends, and to thrive. No wonder they love going so much!
Urafiki works in partnership with these schools to help improve facilities, so the children can concentrate on learning, and having fun! It can be something as fundamental as building the Kaptisi Special School Toilets. Even getting young people to school used to be a challenge for some families, due to the long distances involved and a lack of available transport, but thankfully now Urafiki hires a driver and car to do the various school runs each term.
The future looks bright! These young people are wonderful role models, and are already helping to erode the prejudice, stigma and fear associated with disability. Instead of living hidden lives, they have the chance to realise their full potential, and be valued and respected by their community. What could be more worthwhile than that?
Mincelet was the first person to benefit from Urafiki’s scheme for children with disabilities, and she is living proof of how sponsorship can transform a life.
She used to sit at home and cry during the school day, unable to join her friends in lessons. Through the Urafiki team and the generosity of her sponsor, she is now able to attend a school which gives special support to students with disabilities. Mincelet has seized this chance, studying hard, and discovering a natural talent for sport. She has had success in regional competitions at javelin and discus, and is helping to change the perception of people with disabilities in Kenya.
Despite breaking her hip last summer and spending weeks in plaster, Mincelet is determined to keep going. This girl may yet be in the Paralympics! Watch this space!
Imagine the situation. You are unable to walk. Your father has left, and your mother struggles to care for you, your 18 month old brother, Moses, who has the same disability, and a new baby. She has no income whatsoever. You live in a dark mud hut and never see the light of day. You sleep on the floor.
This was the desperate situation faced by Joseph when we first met him. He had very few words, yet still maintained a stream of chatter as he sat playing with sweetcorn cobs.
Thanks to the Urafiki team and his sponsor, Joseph has now been medically assessed. As a result, he and his brother receive weekly physiotherapy sessions. Supporters in Dubai have provided clothing and sheets for the family; and when the time comes, Joseph will be able to go to school, without having to worry about the fees.
Praise was lame and in a wheelchair when we first met him. Local schools were not available to him, and places at schools for disabled students were too expensive, so he spent his days at home. The Urafiki team helped to find Praise a sponsor, who supports him by paying his school fees. This has opened the door to new experiences and friendships, and given him the chance to learn.
Approached by the school, the Lions Club then generously stepped in, offering to fund an operation on his legs, which was arranged through his headteacher. Today he can walk with crutches, and his legs are likely to continue improving, which is great news. Praise is so happy about this, and makes the most of his new-found freedom of movement. He really enjoys school life, and is learning fast.
We still need YOUR help
Griffin lights up any day. She has problems controlling her hands and legs so she wobbles when she walks. Physiotherapy has helped her and she is now in school and smiles all the time. School means Griffin gets to meet new friends and she doesn’t go hungry.
Could you help to secure Griffin’s future at school by sponsoring her for £8 a month?
Like many children with disabilities in the Yala district, Juliette used to live a very confined life. She would sit alone in the darkness of a mud hut, unable to speak or move outside.
When Juliette contracted cerebral malaria at the age of 4, her family couldn’t afford medical treatment. She suffered the full, damaging impact of this awful disease.
The Urafiki team gave Juliette a wheelchair, and arranged a place at a residential school for her, where she receives specialist care and teaching. She is blossoming, finding new friends and fresh ways to communicate; now all she needs is a sponsor. Could you be that special person?
What does it mean to go to school? For Esther, it means the chance to feel safe, cared for, and understood. It means she gets to meet new friends who have learning disabilities like her, and inspiring teachers who can show her how to take care of herself. It means she doesn’t go hungry.
In an area where disabilities of any kind are met with fear and suspicion, there is one school which offers specialised support, and the chance to learn. Urafiki already has several sponsored students there, who are thriving. Could you help to secure Esther’s future at this school by sponsoring her? Your kindness would make all the difference to her life and well-being.
For children in the Yala district who have learning disabilities, opportunities are rare, and misunderstanding and prejudice all too familiar.
Derrick finds it hard to speak, but he’s determined to communicate. Sometimes he draws pictures to express his ideas, and now he is learning to write. Several years ago he contracted cerebral malaria, which went untreated due to the cost of medicine, and may have led to his current fear of loud sounds, and his frequent fits.
After a break from school to stabilise his condition, he is now raring to go back, but he needs a reliable sponsor to make this possible. Please help Derrick lead a happier, more fulfilled life, surrounded by friends and teachers who care.