Kupenda has become a role model to other organizations, leaders and families around the world. Last year we saw the impact of this example when our work inspired a Zambian social worker named Felistus to open her own organization serving children with disabilities. She called the organization Lilato Initiative for Children with Disabilities. “Lilato”, like “Kupenda” means “love”.
In addition to opening Lilato, Felistus invited our Kenya Director, Leonard Mbonani, to visit Zambia and share about Kupenda’s disability work with Lilato’s Board members, various government officials, university professors, religious leaders and school staff to inspire greater outreach and care for children with disabilities. In addition to these meetings, Leonard was a key speaker at Lilato’s opening ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of leaders and community members. During the event, children with disabilities were also identified and supported through Lilato to access care and services.
After just a week in Zambia, Leonard and Felistus’ work had inspired local leaders to donate $4,000 in crutches, wheelchairs, food, and blankets to children with disabilities. In addition, the Zambian government offered Lilato a plot of land to host their organization’s office. With Leonard’s support Felistus also drew up a document that more than 200 community leaders signed, pledging their commitment to supporting children with disabilities in accessing justice and care.
Now, a year later, Lilato continues to operate in Zambia – spreading the impact of Kupenda’s model to improve the lives of hundreds of children with disabilities each year.
“I am very passionate about disabilities,” Felistus says. “I have greatly benefited from [Leonard’s] visit… I am always in touch with Leonard… we are actually replicating Kupenda for the Children.”