Kajiado Childcare Center (KCC)
History and Mission
The Kajiado Childcare Center (KCC) is an organization that exists to rehabilitate, educate and empower children with disabilities to reach their full potential in life, gain self reliance and dignity. Founded in 1979 by two missionaries from the Africa Inland Mission, the center has treated and rehabilitated over 2000 physically disabled children and adults in need.
Mission: The Kajiado Child Care Center, in partnership with stakeholders, will reach children with disabilities for full rehabilitation and empowerment so as to enable them gain their full potential, self reliance and dignity for the glory of God.
The center runs an integrated kindergarten, two orthopedic workshops and a physiotherapy room. It has a capacity of housing 80 children. Currently it has 75 children residing as patients and pupils. It also has 25 pupils in special schools in other parts of the country, with 13 in secondary schools and 4 in colleges. There are 22 staff who work at the center as cooks, housemothers, teachers, physical therapists, and some administrators. The childcare center provides food; mentors, teachers, wheel chairs and accessories needed and care. Since most of the children treated and educated by KCC come from very poor families, we offer all services to them for free.
The center also runs a home based care program for children who have cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus who need the constant care of their mothers, and also facilitates the networking of parents of children in this program with micro finance organizations that assist them to get out of poverty. KCC treats children from the entire Kajiado district and has two units that treat children in the Lake Baringo area. We hold clinics in communities in these areas and offer referrals and post operative care and nursing, physiotherapy and assistive devises. In total, KCC provides outreach to over 2,000 in nearby villages with physical therapy and support.
If surgeries are required, the families are asked to help pay, but Kijabe Hospital’s Bethany Kids, another partner of LUA, turn away no children or families. KCC also provides outreach to over 2,000 in nearby villages with physical therapy and support.
With the help from donors and the local community LUA has assisted the childcare center in installing a water catchment system. Now the childcare center has a sustainable water system that has improved the lives and care of the children. Daniel and the staff at the childcare center continue to work with LUA to identify needs that can change the lives of their students.
In this video, we visit the center in Kajiado, Kenya. See how children with disabilities are nurtured here and how the rainwater catchment system from LUA is making clean water accessible.
Challenges Faces by Maasai Children with Disabilities
Stigma: In the Maasai community, disabled children are considered a curse resulting from their parents sins. Consequently, they are isolated, hidden and even starved. Their families also do not seek treatment for them even when it is available.
Poverty: The Maasai’s main source of income is their livestock and therefore, poverty and wealth are determined by rain and drought. The current prolonged drought resulted in the death of many of their livestock and they delved into poverty as they sold their livestock at throw away prices. As a result, many disabled children in Kajiado cannot afford treatment.
Malnutrition: 80% of children suffering from cerebral palsy treated by the center have severe malnutrition. This is due to poverty caused by the drought and lack of proper diet. Cerebral Palsy children can only take fluids or mashed foods. The main diet among the pastoralist Maasai communities is milk and meat so the children are fed on milk which usually becomes scarce during droughts.
Inaccessible Health Services: Some disabled children live in very underdeveloped remote areas in Kajiado district where there are no proper transport and communication networks. This makes accessing medical care very difficult and costly for their families. Even when clinics are held in the communities so that the center can take treatment nearer to them, it is usually very costly and some families still find it difficult to access the clinic locations.
Lack of Education: Disabled children in this area are rarely considered as deserving of education. Children in this area struggle to get an education even if they are not physically challenged due to poverty, constant migration and negative cultural practices like early marriage. The best chance a disabled child has at getting an education is if he/she is taken into a children’s home that offers sponsorship and boarding facilities like Kajiado child care center or if he/she is taken to board in a special school.