By Hellen Owuor, Communications Specialist, World Vision in Kenya
It is every child’s wish to play, run around and have fun with other children. However, life circumstances can sometimes make these activities difficult or impossible to perform.
This was the case for 8-year-old Gift who suffers from cerebral palsy. The condition led to spinal deformities that affected his mobility. As such, his hope of running around with fellow children was a wish that seemed elusive for a very long time.
Early this year (2019), World Vision made the boy’s dream a reality through a wheelchair donation to pupils of the Masaku School for the Physically Disabled, located in Kenya’s Machakos County. Approximately, 92 percent of children at the institution – including Gift - have special needs.
“I love racing in this wheelchair and I can do it with friends during my free time. Sometimes they push the chair or I chase them with it. Can I show you how we do it?” Gift asks with an elated smile.
“Before I got a wheelchair, I used to crawl and my mother always carried me to the toilet. I didn’t like that,” he says as the warmth in his smile slightly fades. But, he immediately reignites it, after looking away briefly.
Gift’s teacher, Ms.Kilonzo, notes that when the boy first reported to school, he had wounds on his knees and ankles because of crawling most of the time. She describes Gift as a good student and well-disciplined boy.
“Gift used to be reserved. But now, he has developed confidence because the wheelchair has enabled him to do many things independently. He is able to race fast and perform unique stunts with his wheelchair, while playing with his friends. This is amazing! Apart from that, the boy’s handwriting has really improved,” adds Ms.Kilonzo who encourages Gift and other physically challenged pupils to never give up on their dreams.
Through the support of World Vision and the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK), the school has put aside resources and facilities to make life easier for children like Gift who have special needs.
“We have toilets made to accommodate children who use wheelchairs. Since teachers spend the most time with these children, we employ those who have specialised training in dealing with children who have special needs, because they understand and know how to handle them,” Mr. Ndeto, the Head teacher of the school noted.
Through the Accelerating Core Competencies for Effective Wheelchair Service and Support (ACCESS) programme supported by USAID, World Vision is changing the lives of physically challenged children in Kenya through the provision of wheelchairs.
Learn more about our other education and child protection projects here.