The Songa Mbele na Masomo Centre endeavours to address the needs of children living with disabilities in the Mukuru Villages aged between 4 years and 13 years. Mukuru is currently the second largest slum in Nairobi consisting of over 20 villages with approximately 700,000 dwellers. With huge numbers like that it is an understatement to say that there are a lack of services for the disabled. The networking opportunities are limited but clearly on the increase as the Centre develops. If the Songa Mbele Centre did not exist, the reality for these children would be very depraved and devoid of human dignity, as the consequence would result in a high probability of being 'locked' up at home while parents / guardians seek employment. The support from others helps us to deliver a number of services such as:
1) diverse educational learning to different levels of disability
2) nutritional balanced meals twice daily through the 'Feeding Program'
3) hygiene program to reduce complications from poor hygiene.
4) medical support and assistance to improve the health and well-being of the disabled children.
For parents there are many challenges living with a disabled child however the issues are accentuated when living in poverty with its many complicated social and cultural dimensions. For example, the stigma that needs to be endured by parents or a single parent in Kenya, creates further disadvantage and iosolation for the child. Songa Mbele na Masomo through its presence and programs is trying to alleviate some of these challenges.
Special Education Unit
provides support for children who have physical and intellectual disabilities such as Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism and Learning Difficulties. In collaboration with the Special Education Professsionals (SEP) the team assists in the learning of the disabled children. Parents and guardians receive regular training workshops on living with children who have disabilities.
The social complexities in the slums causes many difficulties. Poverty has many impacts on families. One of these impacts is lack of education. Often children can not attend school as their parents are not able to pay the small fees and as a result fall behind in their learning. The Coaching unit provides children the opportunity to reach a level of competency before being sponsored into a mainstream educational institution. The children receive small group tuition and when necessary one-on-one tuition.