20th November 2015
The Forever Angels Baby Home cares for many children with special and educational needs…
It is sad to document but without the care and attention at the Baby Home our SEN children would either not be alive or would be living in severe pain and discomfort.
Children with disabilities in many parts of Mwanza and the surrounding area are seen as a curse on the family and are therefore often abused, killed or abandoned. Furthermore, many families would never be able to provide sufficient care for their disabled child.
At Forever Angels, the children with special educational needs are wonderfully cared for by three very kind Tanzanian ladies Mama Nasibu, Mama Paulina and Mama Aurelia who have been trained in SEN care by foreign volunteers with professional qualifications and experience. These three ladies work extremely hard to give the children a real feeling of belonging as well as care.
The Baby Home has a sensory room filled with stimulation activities, objects and relaxing lights. Every SEN child at the Baby Home receives at least half an hour of individual attention in the sensory room each day. The children who require it also receive physiotherapy and daily massage.
These children will eventually need to be cared for elsewhere. Ideally they will be adopted into a loving family although at times that seems unlikely. The Baby Home is investigating taking some of the older SEN children to a home in Dar es Salaam, where we believe they will be loved and cared for as much as they are at Forever Angels.
There is an amount of uncertainty about what the future holds for some of these children, the stigma attached to disability here being vast and lasting right through to adulthood where opportunities for employment are also lacking. There is hope that over time the stigma erodes and access to decent healthcare and an overall brighter outlook becomes the norm.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a little about several of the SEN children here.
This baby boy was abandoned by a church and arrived at the Baby Home six months old last October. He has Cerebral Palsy and has no strength in his neck. I love this baby very much he has the best smile in the Baby Home which melts my heart every time I see it!
This picture of this lovely little boy and I was taken during ‘tacpac’, an activity that combines touch and music to promote sensory, social, neurological and emotional development.
The little chap here was abandoned in Mwanza and came to Forever Angels in 2011 when he was about 2 ½ years old, severely underweight. He has Cerebral Palsy and is HIV Positive. He is a beautiful boy who is very smiley and loves nose kisses and being tickled. He is loved by everyone here and captures the hearts of many volunteers!
This little girl was abandoned by the roadside, with just a bag filled with her clothes. Her mother must have found it too hard to care for her and was evidently desperate. She arrived when she was about one in 2007. She has severe Cerebral Palsy. She loves eating but because her muscles are always tensing due to her condition, it is hard for her to put on weight, so she is very thin despite being fed a high-fat diet. She loves her physiotherapy sessions and being massaged and she enjoys playing in the water. We do not anticipate that she will live for very much longer because she finds it hard to breathe and to swallow food. Everyone at the Baby Home will always love her and make her feel as comfortable as possible.
This little girl arrived at the Baby Home when she was 9 days old in 2013. Her mother was admitted to the psychiatric ward after she was born and is sadly still unable to look after her.
She has Microcephaly which means that her head and brain is smaller than compared with others of her age. She has just started trying to crawl which is far more than ever expected of her. She smiles lots and she loves cuddles and going for walks outside of the Baby Home. I really hope to keep seeing this beautiful little girl reach more developmental milestones that doctors never expected her to reach.