My extended family and close friends, as well as the Rotary Club of Mississauga have donated funds to outfit the Special Needs Education Program classroom, and I am excited to share what those donations have been able to purchase. I hope to share some pictures of the supplies in use in the near future, but am still waiting to have permission from parents to share their child’s picture.
We have ordered 2 child-size wheelchairs that are being made by a local NGO that works in special needs therapy and education, Children of Blessings Trust. There are also 3 hand-pedal-powered wheelchairs being made in various sizes for children, by another organization, Malawi Against Physical Disabilities.
And the rest of the funds have gone towards learning and therapeutic activities and toys. I did a lot of research on special needs education and learning, and consulted with some friends and contacts in Canada as to which supplies would be best for a general special needs classroom.
We have building sets, shape sorters, theraputty, various kinds of therapy balls, construction sets, latches and fastener sets, lacing activities, puzzles, bean bags with numbers and shapes on them, alphabet blocks, a pound-a-peg, wooden nesting block tower, a band in a box, and more coming to Malawi with my brother when he visits!
We are also trying to work together with the Rotary Club of Mississauga and the Rotary Club of Bwaila (in Lilongwe) to find and purchase a Braille typewriter and other Braille supplies such as frames and styluses in Malawi.
I have also been liaising with the carpentry shop in camp to create low tables and benches, child-sized chairs with arms and back-rests, and a U-shaped bench to fully outfit the classroom. A local tailor was also commissioned to make curtains for the windows, as the class seems to attract a lot of attention from the rest of the school’s students, and the constant stares, questions, and interruptions make concentration difficult for the children in our class. The tailor has also made fabric pockets that we have hung on the walls of the classroom for the children to store the class books in – we are trying to develop their sense of responsibility and ownership, and also have them begin to recognize their own names. Finally, we have bought paint and the driver for JRS has agreed to draw the alphabet, sign language alphabet, and Braille alphabet on the walls and then paint them to make the classroom more colourful and welcoming.
So that is where we are at right now! It is very exciting, and while I do not think everything will be completed before I leave, I am confident that the teachers, volunteers, and JRS staff will continue the projects and it will result in a quality education program for local children with special needs.
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Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.