New School for Allan and Augustus

I don’t write much about the challenges that I face in dealing with kids with disabilities here in Kenya. There is so much stigma. As a parent of these kids, it can be incredibly frustrating especially when you don’t know where to turn for help.

Allan was promoted to class 1. Since we only have preschool at the house I went out looking for a school for him. I talked to the principal and the secretary before school started and they said that he could learn at their school. On the first day of school, I took Allan to get him enrolled. After meeting him again they changed their mind. They told me that it would be better if I kept him home to learn with other children like him. I’ll admit my first reaction was anger. Allan had been so happy the whole morning, grinning from ear to ear at the thought of getting to go to school outside the house and crawling everywhere with his backpack on. Then at school they told me they wouldn’t take him just because of his disability. 

Allan has cerebral palsy, which keeps him from walking and causes him to struggle with writing, but he is so bright. He understands everything and uses English words that none of the other kids know and catches on to new things quickly. He has a few speech impairments, but once you spend some time with him it’s easy to understand what he is saying. And he’s determined, he will sit for 30 minutes putting his shoes on by himself because he knows he can. The second Allan heard the teacher say he couldn’t go to school there, his smile faded for the first time that morning and he just looked at me ready to cry. It broke my heart. There is a church at the school that I’ve attended with the kids before and they were talking about reaching out to the poor and the needy. There were signs posted all over the office that said “Education for all” yet they were turning us away.
I was determined to find another school where Allan could learn, play and grow alongside his peers. A place where he will be accepted as he is and be given the chance to be educated. We went to a school just around the corner called Greenfields. It is well known for high test scores and is the place where most of the children from wealthy families in town go. I was reluctant to go, thinking we would be turned away again and didn’t want to see that heartbroken look on Allan’s face again. We talked to the staff and they met Allan. He was not his usual talkative self and was very quiet. Without hesitation they started talking to us about how to make it work for Allan to fit into their school. They said that they would arrange for someone to take him to the bathroom and to feed him at meal time. They were even willing to carry him around all day, the fact that we have a wheelchair for him was just an added bonus. 
The instant Allan heard he would be going to school there, his perfect little smile was back on his face. We immediately went to buy the uniform and he refused to take it off until bedtime. I am thankful that we found a school that is willing to accommodate Allan and give him the teaching and extra care that he needs. 
Augustus will also be going to school with Allan. Augustus has a learning disability that makes reading extremely difficult for him. We’ve tried working with him at home and getting him extra help at school and he still has difficulty writing his first name. So we talked to the teachers at Greenfields and they said that they would be happy to have him at their school and work with him to build his reading skills.
Augustus has a huge heart and will help out wherever he sees a need. Allan said that Augustus made sure he was taken to the bathroom, checked his bag before they got on the bus to go home and even stopped playing at lunch to feed him. It’s so encouraging to see how they really are a family. Augustus could tell I was nervous to leave Allan at school and he said, “Don’t worry I’ll take care of my brother.” I am continually blessed by them and their great big hearts. 

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One Response to New School for Allan and Augustus

  1. Autosmiler January 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    That is SO sweet of Augustus! Praise the Lord Greenfields will take them both! They are so blessed that you are taking care of them AND took the chance to ask at Greenfields! We will keep praying for you and your work! Thanks for the updates!

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