As you may be well aware, Safaricom is currently running the Bonga For Good Initiative through which you can donate your Bonga Points to help the less fortunate in dealing with the impact that COVID-19 is having. We caught up with Anne Njeri Wachira whose children’s home for the disabled has been a beneficiary of this support. Here is what Anne had to say:
What is CHDF and what do you do?
Compassionate Hands For Disabled Children is an institution that offers rehabilitation for children with disabilities and special needs between one year and eighteen years. These children are orphaned, abandoned, abused and from vulnerable situations.
Where are you based?
Currently we are located in Ruai which is about 35 Kilometers from the CBD. The landmark that is nearest to us is St. Joseph’s Catholic Church along Kangundo Road.
What do you mostly rely on to raise funds?
For us to be able to raise funds we rely on friends, well-wishers, churches and sometimes corporates that are doing their Community Social Responsibilities.
What are some of the most severe challenges you face in running CHDF?
I would say among the myriad of challenges we face is the fact that every day we find an abandoned or vulnerable child and we cannot be able to take them all in because budgetary allocations are quite demanding. Currently we have 96 between one and above eighteen years.
So funds are one of the major challenges, as well as getting human resource that will be able to take care of the children without prejudice.
When the children are taken under CHDF’s wing, what happens when they grow up?
When we take in a child we device what we call an individual care plan for him or her that is dependent on their individual needs. We create a path that we hope each child can be able to take. Some are able to accept being given food and therapy and palliative care, others are able to go with education and others take vocational training. Our overall goal is to ensure that these children can be integrated back into the society, with some being able to get into employment and some going into business. Currently our highest is Form 4 though.
After they get to 18 years they have to leave?
No. With disabilities you cannot say that at 18 you release the child. Because say we have a 21 year old young man with cerebral palsy who is totally dependent on diapers and without mobility. There’s nowhere to take that young man because you see most of them were rejected by their families in the first place. We hope most of them can acquire survivable skills or be employable or get to run their own businesses.
How has COVID-19 affected your day to day running of the foundation and the home?
A lot. Though we are not infected but affected. As I said earlier on, we depend on friends and well-wishers, yet there is currently limited visitation to the home. We can’t even move around the way we used to because of the restrictions. So we hope that COVID-19 will end soon because it might get into our ability to have resources to take care of the children.
You recently benefited from Safaricom’s Bonga For Good Initiative. How is that working for you?
It really gave us a milestone. By Saturday 9th of May we were able to raise Ksh.155,000/- with which we shopped for food for the children. We were also able to buy a juicer with part of the funds because as I said we deal with severely challenged children with conditions like cerebral palsy and most of them cannot be able to chew food so they need to have it extracted. We bought food and a juicer from that, and a cooler for medication.
Are you working with any other corporate bodies that support persons living with disabilities through you?
We are registered with the National Council for Persons Living With Disabilities but we’re yet to see if we can benefit from any of their support currently because of COVID-19. So we’re hopeful at the moment.
Other than Safaricom, one of the corporates that I saw yesterday is DHL who gave us around 500 pieces of bread, and not long ago we received some soap from Crown Paints. And then of course there is this latest initative by Safaricom. That is the far that corporates have been of help to us.
What is your ultimate dream for the future of CHDF?
We have a construction project to increase the facilities that the children can access. Our ultimate goal is that it can be a well-equipped and empowered center to address issues of disability.
Also, because we cannot handle over 100 children right now, we dream of expanding, taking in more children, and being able to acquire the ability to become a model organization for other institutions and generally create a sustainable option for children with disabilities in Kenya and at large.
Note from the publisher:
If you’d like to donate your Safaricom bonga points to the Compassionate Hands For Disabled Children, send them to Anne Njeri Wachira on 0725982882. She is the founder of CHDF.