Baba Dogo Reaches Children With Severe Disabilities
MOHI recently launched a new disabilities program at its Baba Dogo center as part of its existing special needs program. The center opened a new resource room to serve children from the community with severe and profound developmental disabilities. Through the program, qualified staff will teach children of all ages basic life skills and provide physical and occupational therapy. Additionally, MOHI hopes to teach teenagers in the program a few basic vocational skills, like cooking and beadwork, to equip them with marketable skills for the future.
"Our long-term vision for Baba Dogo center is starting to come to fruition,” said Xavier Kioko, Baba Dogo’s Center Manager. "Just like the original school building was the beginning of hope for this community, this new program is a sign that God is continually working in Baba Dogo. This program will be a major tool of enrichment for our children, parents, and the entire community.”
Mary Kamau, Executive Director of MOHI, said that Baba Dogo’s new program and resource center is another step in moving MOHI’s special needs program to the next level so that consistent care is provided for these children. "It’s my personal joy and honor to launch this program so that we can do exactly what God asks us to do for these often-forgotten children,” she said.
The launch of the Baba Dogo program is a significant milestone for MOHI. In January 2015, MOHI opened a resource room at its main Pangani center to assist students with various learning disabilities and conduct individualized learning assessments. By expanding its special needs program to the Baba Dogo community, MOHI will serve an area with a high concentration of children with severe disabilities. Such children typically are confined to their homes, with little outside interaction. Community members often stigmatize them due to a lack of understanding and education. Furthermore, caring for children with severe disabilities places a significant strain on parents who are mostly single, must work outside the home, and cannot afford any special assistance.
MOHI hopes to shatter the stigma associated with disabilities by offering an environment where children can be understood, learn, and grow. The resource room also offers a safe place for children to stay during the day while their parents are working.
"The greatest disability for all of us is the inability to discover our true potential and abilities,” said Julius Otundo, MOHI’s Director of Education. "God has a good plan for us all. Because we are each created in His image, He did not make any mistakes in how we were created.”
Last week MOHI held a special ceremony at Baba Dogo to open and dedicate the new resource room. Several parents from the community attended the opening with their children. "We are starting this program with you and for you; we are doing it together,” Mrs. Kamau emphasized to them.
Special guests Steve and Gail Martin from Rockingham Christian Church in New Hampshire encouraged the parents to find value in their children and motivate their community to come around them. The Martins shared that they had two children with multiple disabilities. "I prayed for their healing until I realized that they weren’t broken,” said Gail. "They were made exactly as God intended them to be.” In helping MOHI launch this new program and resource room, the Martins honored the memory of their son, who died 3 ½ years ago.