IVHQ is proud to announce that New Beginnings - Maisha Iko Sawa in Kenya has been awarded the first IVHQ Booster Grant for 2014.
New Beginnings - Maisha Iko Sawa is a Special Needs placement served by IVHQ volunteers in Kenya that enables developmentally disabled adults of the Kibera slum to enter the workforce. The school was established by IVHQ volunteer, Kellie Hall, who volunteered with IVHQ in 2012.
Kellie explains, “New Beginnings-Maisha Iko Sawa was designed to help developmentally disabled adults of Kibera slum integrate into the community. The goal is to provide them with a safe structured opportunity to interact in a positive manner as productive members of society. The students attend the center on a daily basis where they are instructed in personal hygiene, daily living, pre-academic, and pre-vocational training. There is a paid staff member and volunteers that provide hands-on supervision and assess the students’ needs as they progress. The ultimate goal is to prepare students to enter the workforce in the community of Kibera so they can generate an income and help their families. For those who are unable to be gainfully employed we provide continuous support and structure to empower them to be productive in mind, body, and spirit. As of now, we have graduated three students into the community and workforce. Martin, who started off as very shy and never spoke to anyone, to interning for a car mechanic and will be getting hired once his internship is over. Elizabeth was able to attend a women’s empowerment support group where she learned the trade of beading and jewelry making. And then one of our newer students Seth started a culinary school where he can learn to make meals that he can sell to others for a profit. We have recently got three more students and will continue to recognize their strengths and find a place for them in Kibera like the rest of the community. We also have two new teachers who are amazing and are actually in school right now for special education. We also have an aid, Evelyn, who does the cooking, cleaning, and toileting. She is a big help and is there daily with the students and has been there since Day 1.”
A total of US$775 (68,045 Kenyan Shilling) was granted to New Beginnings - Maisha Iko Sawa to invest in the following items:
- Wheel chair
- Walking frame
- Beading materials
- Mat making materials
- Exercise and gym weights (6 pieces)
- Aerobic exercise mat (3 x mats)
- Floor mat (1m x 3m)
- Plastic chairs (2 pieces)
- Table (1 meter x 2 meters)
- First aid kit
IVHQ’s local staff in Kenya were responsible for purchasing these items using the Booster Grant money and providing the receipts and photos to IVHQ.
While the purchase of the wheel chair and walking frame will serve the ongoing need to ambulate some of the students within New Beginnings, the floor mat, table and chairs will contribute to providing a more comfortable learning environment for the students.
Bernadette Kimani of IVHQ’s local team in Kenya explains the benefit that the Booster Grant purchases will serve for the school:
“Through the donation of beads and mat-making materials, the learners will be taught skills that will enable them to make bracelets, necklaces, purses and earrings, door mats and table mats. This will in turn ensure that our learners are independent and productive in the society.”
“When making items using the donated beads and mat-making materials, half of the money from selling the items will go back into the purchase of more beads and mat-making materials to ensure sustainability. The students will also be able to benefit in monetary terms because they will be given half of the money earned from the sales made.”
“As the students cannot afford to attend physiotherapy sessions, the exercise equipment will allow for these services to be provided within the school, allowing students the ability to recover their mobility with time. This will also ensure that they can develop in all spheres including physically.”
To follow the developments of this placement, visit the New Beginnings-Maisha Iko Sawa Facebook page, or if you are interested in volunteering on a Special Education project in Kenya, visit IVHQ’s Kenya Volunteer Program page.
To learn more about the IVHQ Booster Grants or to submit a proposal, visit the Booster Grants page.