Friday, 16 May 2014

Jacaranda Special School

Today we went to the Jacaranda Special School.  This is a school for kids with everything from mild to severe Autism, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, etc... The school has been around since 1946 and is the only one in Nairobi like it.  They are funded by the government but rely heavily on donations.  Which is where many of you come in.  I took the suitcase of clothes and school supplies that I brought from Canada into the school.  It was added to by many of my teammates who had also brought donations from their countries. 

Prior to our team arriving today, I had gone to the school to meet with Betty who was helping us set up the activities.  We had a long chat about how the school functions and what they need.  It is amazing what they can do with so few resources.  The principle behind the school is to teach each child according to his or her ability.  The basics for some include just looking after their own hygiene but for others they have the opportunity to learn a skill such as cooking, making beds, etc... They are also taught a skill which may help them earn a living.  They learn to knit, do beading and make tapestries.  The work they turn out is so high quality it really is cool to see what they can do.  And since each of these skills requires materials, this is where the money that was donated came in.  Between what I brought from Canada and what my team mates donated here, we had approximately 40,000 Kenyan Shillings to spend.  And spend we did.  Through everyone's generosity we were able to outfit the beading classes for at least this school year.  We were also able to provide enough wool and tapestry materials for several projects.  And finally, we were able to provide a set of pots, knives, sieves, plates, serving utensils, etc... to outfit a kitchen.  THANK YOU TO ALL WHO DONATED.

Now back to the fun.  We had some outdoor activities including sack races, volleyball and ever popular 'hurry and get on your inside out coat and do up the buttons' game.  I WON!  Apparently we suck at volleyball and filling water bottles because the kids beat us at those games.  Once we were done outdoors we went indoors where we were treated to some of the students singing for us.  As well, we witnessed a fashion show where they showed off their finest dress, listened to the school choir and got a history of the school from the headmistress. We were also required to do a presentation and our group chose to sing the Jambo! song - check it out on Youtube - the professional version is quite catchy, ours - not so much.   From there, we handed out about 3 kgs of candy for prizes - not that any of the kids liked that at all!

I am not doing the school justice really in its work and in its mission.  The teachers are really in it for the love of the children because there is no glamour and not many thank yous to this job.  They are trying to expand and help as many kids as possible even as resources become scarcer.  Anyway, enough of that.  It was a great day and I've attached some pictures below.

The youngest member - Gloria and her friend
Alex and her desperate attempt to win

Losing at volleyball

Anne in the fashion show

Some of your donations

Some of the beadwork

1 comment:

  1. so awesome! They must have been so thrilled with your visit and all the great things you guys brought them. Another amazing experience, I'm sure.