At the home, we have simplified all our activities into a three-step process.
1. RESCUE & RECOVERY
Back in 2008, as Anne Njeri our director at CHDF worked in the Korogocho Slums she noticed that the disabled kids in her community were given less-than-human status. There were cases of disabled children who had never seen the light of day as their parents were either afraid or embarrassed to display them publicly. These children were often forgotten and neglected, and a first step when taking them in was to nurse them back to health after years of deplorable living conditions. Most would need proper feeding and drugs to manage their conditions. To this day, not much has changed and in fact, one of our key objectives is to rescue and admit disabled children living in indecent conditions and put them on the path to physical and mental recovery. We're continually improving the living conditions of these children but are not yet where we want to be. Our goal is to have all the children enjoy healthy meals, have one bed per child and access to the right drugs to manage their conditions.
Among the first groups of children to be admitted to CHDF, were the mentally handicapped. Some were perfectly normal and healthy children but for the fact that they had limited intellectual capabilities. Over time as the children grew, we realized that despite their mental incapabilities they had hidden talents and potential. For example, we noticed that Manyeki, a boy that was normally aggressive due to his hyperactive disorder, would be very gentle with animals and what's more, he enjoyed feeding them. On his own, he would walk around the compound and pick leaves and vegetation to feed our rabbits. This challenged us that we could make something yet out of these children. Our rehabilitation process involves assessing a child's interests and strengths and finding an activity that would suit them e.g. beadwork, art and craft. The process has largely been informal, but as we grow we are looking to bring more structure and insight into it.
3. REINTEGRATION INTO SOCIETY
The eventual goal for all our children is to have them living healthy, fulfilling lives as adults despite their disabilities. We envision a child like Manyeki, (in the example above) being a farmer/working on a farm. We see him tending to his rabbits with the same ardour he did as a child, but now with more know-how on how to take care of animals. Through our rehabilitation process, we've successfully had some of our children join the public education system and are continuing well with their studies. We're particularly proud to announce that we have a few children in high school. If they can eventually complete their studies, reintegrate into society and ascend to positions of power, we envision them championing for the rights of the disabled and fighting the stigma associated with disability. They should also be proof that disability is not inability.
Every child we take is a success in their own right for having made it this far but we also like to highlight the stories of a few children who have defiantly broken the restraints of their disability.
Samuel, who suffers from Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, was displaced during the 2007 post-election violence. He is currently in High School, working hard on his dream of becoming a pilot.
SAMUEL MACHARIADREAMS OF BECOMING A PILOT
Mary was abandoned by the family at Mama Lucy Kibaki after a prolonged hospitalization. She suffers from brittle bones and cerebral palsy. Since she joined the home, she can now talk, sit and feed herself.
MARY SHAKIRACAN NOW FEED HERSELF
Brian comes from a particularly poor background, with 5 other immediate members of his family including his mother, being disabled. He is faring well in his studies at St.Lucy's School for the Blind, Meru.
BRIAN MBUGUAGOING TO CLASS TWO
TOTAL CHILDREN RESCUED
IN REGULAR SCHOOLS
CAN DO BEADWORK
REUNITED WITH FAMILY
THE CURRENT SITUATION ON THE GROUND
When we started out in 2008, it was a struggle to get even two meals a day. However, over the years we've been continually improving the children's living standards.