Dear Friends and family,
This is the first update of the new year, and let me begin by wishing you all good health in this new year. From now on, to avoid repeating what I wrote in the previous update, I will send updates of current issues and developments.
The program this year started with a week dedicated to assessments, where the children had an opportunity to have a total body examination and the results were then shared with the parents. Some kids had their anti-seizure medications revised, and five of our kids have been referred to see a dentist, which requires the organization of a booking at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The feeding program has continued to be the essential part of our programming, as it allows the kids to continue getting nutritious meals while they are with us for therapy and school. We have continued to provide soya flour porridge in the morning, and for lunch we provide nsima, rice, and potatoes served with different types of stew. Finally, we provide a snack at the end of the day so it’s either fruit or locally-baked banana bread. Your continued funding has enabled us to continue to provide the kids with all their meals. Besides having a therapeutic benefit it also has a social benefit, as the kids are able to eat together and have the same type of food despite the differences in families they come from.
Thanks to your continued support we have a new one-year contract with the specialist teacher who has been a great part of the team. Since we have had the teacher we have managed to send more kids to public school, thereby allowing us to open up some spaces for kids on the waiting list. In January we sent five and since last year we have, in total, sent 17 into public schools. To prevent school dropouts we have made space available so that those in school can come back in the afternoon on appointed days and have one-on-one time with the therapist or teacher.
In our continued support for public schools this year we are partnering with Nasiyaya Primary School, where one teacher will work for us once a week to mentor them on programming for kids with special needs. In this new program, we are working hand-in-hand with the Regional Education Officer from the Ministry of Education unit for special needs education, where they identify a school for us to mentor and slowly introduce the service. Our goal is to allow schools access to basic information so that kids from the community can be referred there, but also to accommodate some kids on our waiting list. We have agreed to do this because it is mutually beneficial to both sides and no extra budget is needed.
A complete analysis of all our wooden materials in the classroom requires either maintenance or replacement and I will be providing the details of how many chairs we need after we finish the repairs. Additionally, we also need to buy extra blankets, mattresses, toys, activity books, pencils, and books. All of the above are available at the local market in both new and fairly used condition, and the above extra materials will ease the pressure.
Apart from paying for the food, your funding has also managed to pay rentals and pay for two qualified staff members.
The weekend program has continued on Saturdays and we currently have a part-time specialist teacher managing this. There are plans to have a rehabilitation technician join the weekend team.