He used to come to school late and his performance was suffering. It took a keen teacher and life saving surgery to keep his dream of becoming a doctor alive

The English teacher was unsettled about something in his class.

Beyond the call of duty that took him every morning to Tayari Primary School in Molo, Nakuru County, he noticed that one of the pupils had difficulties wearing shoes or interacting with other children in school.

He could not let it pass.

Mr Kiarie sent little Joseph to fetch his guardian.

Joseph returned to school with his grandmother Mary Njoki in tow. Only then did the story of the pupil begin to unfold in its full impact, unleashing Mr Kiarie’s Good Samaritan instincts.

Joseph, a 12-year-old, lost his parents at the age of 7, after which he and his siblings were taken in by their 70-yearold grandmother who ekes a living out of farming.

The biggest challenge for Njoki was taking care of Joseph, who was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects movement and co-ordination.

Cerebral palsy has many causes — including premature birth or an infection during pregnancy — and it damages a baby’s brain and nervous system. Luckily, Joseph’s condition was relatively mild and only affected movement in his left hand and leg which could be repaired through surgical intervention and physiotherapy.

Joseph would take two hours to walk to school every day, and his shoes were wearing out at a very high rate. He was often so late that he’d miss out on the first lessons. As a result, Joseph’s performance was deteriorating and this was killing his dream of becoming a doctor.

“Now he can walk comfortably and this makes me the happiest grandmother. May God help the partners to continue doing more for others.”

“My prayers were answered when Joseph’s class teacher called me and referred me to EARC (Early Childhood Resource Centre) who informed me that I could get help from a Safaricom Mobile Clinic at Nakuru Level 5 hospital,” said Njoki.

“Early morning the following day I took Joseph to the clinic and I was informed that he required a tendon repair that would ordinarily cost Ksh66,000. I explained my situation and the outreach worker enrolled Joseph as one of the children to benefit from Safaricom Foundation surgery support,” she said.

“It was like news from heaven when I was told that CBM through Safaricom Foundation was going to restore my grandson’s ability to walk properly. Joseph was successfully operated on. Now he can walk comfortably and this makes me the happiest grandmother. May God help the partners to continue doing more for others.”

After recovery, Joseph returned to school and he is now like any other pupil; he runs and plays football. He is able to get to school on time and compete fairly with other pupils.

His future is now bright. The intervention has rekindled his vision of becoming a doctor, since physical impairment is no longer a barrier to his progress.

Securing education for special needs learners

Securing Education for Children with Disabilities in Kenya is a project that was initiated by the Safaricom Foundation in partnership with Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Kenya and AIC Cure International Hospital in March 2016 to increase the number of children with disabilities enrolling in school.

The programme extends medical services through clinics that go to rural communities and identify children with physical disabilities that have had no access to the treatment they need. Our partner, Christian Blind Mission, trains local health care workers to provide post-operative rehabilitative care to children with disabilities who have received treatment. They also educate families and communities about the rights of children with disabilities.

The project is targeting areas with high prevalence of disability among children such as Litein, Kisumu, Kitale, Eldoret, Mombasa, Meru and Kericho.

In its first year of implementation, the project facilitated 82 surgeries of which 63 beneficiaries have been enrolled in school while the rest are recovering.

Twenty health workers have been trained on postoperative care, 64 families educated on rights of children with disabilities, 3,506 pupils from 13 different schools counselled, sensitised and educated on disabilities and the rights of children with disabilities.

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