“In the donor field for special needs Vision Africa is the biggest supporter in the district” (Representative of the District Education Office, Maragua District)
This is an area of our work in which we can justifiably be proud. Vision Africa has provided funding to facilitate the opening of two schools, Kirunguru School in Kandara District and Percy Davies School in Kambiti, offering specialist education. We continue to provide support as a major donor to both schools, allowing them to provide residential care at both schools, nurturing physical, social, emotional and behavioural development.
The impact of these schools on the community has been tremendous. In many Kenyan communities, disabled children are branded a curse on a family and hidden from public view. Through the work of the dedicated staff at our partner schools, the children are more accepted, participating in sporting activities and performing at community events. At Kirunguru Special School the community involvement has included training and work attachments for students learning vocational skills resulting in former pupils living independently or contributing to their families.
Having helped establish the two schools, our team is now focused on getting more young children with special needs to access relevant education. At both schools we have worked with our partners to construct therapy rooms which can be used by the local EARC (Education Assessment and Resource Centre) teams to carry out assessments on children from the local communities and advise parents about options for therapies and education. Working with the local hospitals, the goal is to also have therapists running clinics from the therapy rooms which students from the schools and local communities can attend.
Both Kirunguru and Percy Davies Special Schools have close links with local primary schools and work to have children integrated into mainstream education where that is a suitable option.
Vision Africa has also worked with parents of children with special needs to set up local support groups. Through these groups, parents can network rather than feel isolated and information about relevant opportunities for their children can be shared.
In all the work that we support with children with special needs there is one over-riding goal – to give them the opportunity to reach their potential.