Hi guys – There has been a brief interruption in my review of last Saturday’s activities because a competing priority has reared its head. About 2 or 3 months ago, I attended a Rotary Club big giant Sunshine Fun day that was held for children with disabilities in Nairobi and in towns around the circumference. I haven’t written about it because honestly, finding words to describe it to actually transfer the vivid images in my mind from that day over to you –it’s just impossible.I know this blog is long but please try to read through and then watch the 2 min video at the end. This post is about Joytown Primary School for the physically and mentally handicapped and a very very easy way you can make a HUGE difference.
Being disabled in Kenya is whole other thing. In most cases, you are discriminated against, ostracized from your family/village, and forced to live in a world that has zero accommodations for people like you. No wheel chair ramps, no sidewalks, no handicap buses, no handicap bathrooms (if you can find a bathroom). Finding a job is close to impossible. Furthermore, for the most part, people do not have discretion when they see things that are different than them. They stare and they point. And they do not always accept people with disabilities as being part of main stream society. (okay, this is not just a phenomenon in Kenya – I think we in the US have a ways to go on this too). And top of it all YOU ARE A CHILD! Maybe abandoned by your family because of your disability, maybe not, but definitely stared at constantly, made fun of by people that see you, and ostracized in the community. There aren’t enough care facilities or special schools for these kids or even staff and the conditions in many of the places are crazy substandard – even for Kenya. The cost to take care of kids with disabilities is astronomical and so these places do what they can but it’s often not enough to meet basic needs. Medical treatment is not available for everyone and most can’t afford it anyways. It’s just a sad situation.
So, on Rotary Fun day various schools for kids with disabilities loaded up their kids on buses and brought them to this stadium place in Nairobi for the day. It was not a big giant fair day by our standards. It was basically just some stands that the kids could sit in and watch a few clowns on the field, see a guy walking on stilts and hear music being played and get some milk and muffins. No interaction really – but it was still really fun for the kids and something new and different than their normal routine and setting. Kids that could, danced and clapped and there was an MC that had them laughing and singing. Here's some photos of the day:
|Crazy Sergeant Clown|
|little cuties waiting for the potties|
|Machakos School for the Deaf - these guys looked fancy. Very nice uniforms, etc|
|Entertainment Dancers and drummers|
|Busses pulling in|
Some schools, like Joytown School, a Salvation Army founded institute, had more seriously disabled kids that had mobility issues. It was clearly one of the more severely financially challenged schools and the kids had more needs than many of the other schools. But these kids were amazing. Everyone helped each other get up into the stands – the kids that used crutches helped the ones with wheelchairs and the ones with wheelchairs helped the other ones in wheelchairs..i mean seriously. These are KIDS! I mean, they still giggle and have fun and you see they were just happy to be there. It broke my heart and warmed it at the same time. Their resilience was just striking. These are God’s kids you know? I mean, really – it’s incredible what they are born with and go through.
|The clowns sort of traveled around the stands making the kids laugh..or scaring them half to death depending on how you feel about clowns|
Let me get down to the point here. These kids need new equipment and the school needs stuff. I saw one little girl using a lawn chair with some wheels that had been rigged to it. Other kids had chairs that were just falling apart…kids had pieced together crutches and everything was just old and decrepit. I didn’t take pictures because I wanted to be discreet but I knew I would need some in order to try and seek some help from the outside.
I spoke to the Director of the school and he says yes, they could use some wheelchairs but one of the main priorities is diapers for the kids. As you can imagine, a school like Joytown, with over 300 kids, must go through TONS of diapers. So, I have been in contact with the wholesaler of the adult diapers that I am to buy - And I have some funds set aside, my own funds and some other from my family, etc. But, these diapers cost about $25 for a box of 30. So, our money doesn't go very far with prices like that.Many of you expressed that you would like to help in whatever way after I closed the fundraiser for Mwikali's school fund. This is a genuine and direct opportunity for you to support these kids. I would like to set a goal of 1000 additional diapers beyond what the money I already have set aside can buy. At say 4 diapers a day (i dont know) that's pretty much just taking care of one kid for the year..but that's something.
Here's a quick video I found on youtube that someone put together about the school. It really shows you more about the place:
So, if you want to donate one pack of diapers ($25) or whatever you can do, I have set up the you caring account again, (click on that link) until Tuesday or if you are familiar with paypal you can just send it to my paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org. That account is only used for this and Mwikali's fund and I know exactly how much is there right now for Mwikali - so anything that goes in over that is for the Joytown kids.
Let's get them 1000 diapers by Tuesday! WE CAN DO IT!! (I'm leaving soon and need to wrap it up quickly!) If you have any questions, just email me.