We are proud of ourselves to begin this quarter already with a lot of achievement in the Special School Units (SSU) project. KidsCare together with the National and County Government again marked a very important moment for the children living with special abilities under the theme “education for all”. Having already set two functioning special school units in Lunga Lunga and Masimbani primary schools, on the 2nd and 4th of July 2019 we gathered again to officially lay the first stones in two more schools in Tswaka and Vitsngalaweni primary schools respectively. The buildings were ready by October 2019.
KidsCare Kenya along with the county & national government, and Wild Geese have decided to setup Special School Units (SSU) in the Lunga-Lunga Sub-County. The project consists of setting up six special schools units in six primary schools situated on each of the locations of the Lunga-Lunga Sub-County, for children with mental and/or multiple disabilities. Each unit will be compromised of two classrooms which will hold a capacity of 30 children per unit. This will result in 180 children receiving an educational program, which will take their special needs in the field of health, behavior and learning speed into account.
According to the National Council of Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) there are over 1934 cases reported of children as well as adults with special abilities in Lunga-Lunga Sub-County. The conditions under which these individuals, specifically the children, live are often harsh, with extreme cases of parents completely shutting out the children from the outside world. This is due to lack of awareness towards proper care of children with special abilities and the shared belief that having a special ability child is a punishment from God. Many parents are ashamed of these children and choose to hide these children from society.
Currently there are children registered at KidsCare with a mental and multiple disabilities. For these children education is hardly possible. The social workers of KidsCare have been making many referrals to the schools that handle special needs education. Those referrals often concern the boarding school far away in Kwale town. These referrals however have never been successful, the children ended up staying at home mostly because their parents cannot raise funds to take them to these schools, or the schools are too far away for these children making it impossible to attend school on a daily basis.
In short, we can define the following problem:
- The school is too far away for the children to access
- The units are very few to cater for the needs of all the children
- The units are not sufficiently equipped to handle all these cases
- Parents have difficulties raising funds
KidsCare aims at solving these problems through the SSU project. We are proud to see the two pilot units are complete and in use. We are looking forward to complete the remaining other 4 units as children are already attending classes, day care and therapies. Not only does KidsCare expect the children to have access to the special school units but also we want to ensure that they receive quality education. For this reason, trainings for both care givers, special need education teachers, head teachers and board of management have started as part of quality improvement in the area of education.