Finding a Loving Place

by Sandra Bauer

Furaha smiling in a wheelchair

After a delayed start to her education and a number of other challenges, Furaha will finally be doing what once seemed out of reach. With a combination of hard work, perseverance, and Kupenda’s support, Furaha will be starting high school this January!

Uncertain Beginnings

When she was a young girl, Furaha could only dream of attending school. This is because her community was not accessible to her with cerebral palsy, a condition which prevented her from walking. In rural Kenya, there are no school buses and many families do not own automobiles. Sometimes there are not even passable roads.

In addition, her mother had 6 children to support and could not afford the fees necessary for Furaha to stay in a boarding school. As a result, Furaha was left at home while her siblings and friends went to school.

Also complicating matters was that her father divorced her mother and had no contact with the family. When Kuhenza, our Kenyan affiliate, contacted the dad, he became very hostile. The reason for the divorce is not known, but it is common for one or both parents to leave the family because a child with a disability is often considered to be a curse.

Support for Inclusion

When Kupenda found out her plight, they found someone who gave Furaha a scholarship for boarding at Gede Special School. Boarding fees gave Furaha the opportunity to attend school, get nutritious meals, and receive medical intervention when she was sick.

At school, she could also socialize with other students, develop her talents and potential, participate in special games, and nourish her spiritual growth by attending church services nearby.

After her enrollment, Furaha was soon passing all her subjects; although, she struggled with science and Kiswahili. She also learned to play Scrabble and began competing at the regional level. She has even become very sociable and has many friends. In short, she was no longer left behind.

Today, Furaha is an 8th grader and is excelling in all her subjects, especially science and Kiswahili. In fact, she received the highest grades in her class! Her teachers claim she has the best handwriting, too. She has even demonstrated leadership skills by organizing her classmates to do group activities.

In addition, through Kupenda’s counseling and disability training workshops, her community is continuing to become more understanding and inclusive of people with disabilities.

Her mother said,

“I feel good that my child is progressing well in her academics and in November she will be completing her primary school education and will join secondary school next year. My child is loved by the family and the community”.                            

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