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Migwani Special Unit for the Mentally Handicapped


For the past three years, MESPT in conjunction with other partners has been supporting the Migwani Special School for the Mentally Handicapped as part of their CSR.Some of the students pose for a photo.


Recently, MESPT together with other partners namely ABD and PEMFAM visited the school to see the progress made so far as well as present various donations in support of the school. The head teacher Mrs. Sarah Kilonzo as well as the Unit head Mrs. Esther Kasina greatly praised the contributions of MESPT and other partners in keeping the school going. The CEO of MESPT Mr. Jeff Njagi was thanked for his commitment to supporting the school.

State of the School

Since May 2010, the school has grown from a population of 55 pupils to 70 pupils as at May 2011. Other than the unit head Mrs. Esther Kasina, the school has three more teachers namely Mr. Daniel Mulalia, Mr. Dennis Kamwere and Mrs. Ruth Mutisya. Currently the school has four classrooms, a vocational training workshop, two dormitories and a staff room. In order to meet the special needs of the pupils, the school also has two subordinate staff: a cook, Mary Mwende and a house mother Anastasia Mwende.

Two new dormitories funded by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) that were under construction have stalled due to lack of funds. Upon completion these will serve to ease congestion in the current two dormitories, one for girls the other for boys.

Current Undertakings

Despite the many challenges the school faces, the teachers continuously endeavour to equip the pupils with basic education as well as vocational skills they can use to earn a living and contribute towards the development of the country. Training of the pupils is made difficult by the fact that they must first be trained to overcome their disability before they can be taught any other skills.

Over a period of one year, the school has registered some success stories. One case is of a girl who was admitted without any speaking ability, through rigorous training and coaching the girl has now developed full speech abilities and can communicate fluently. Not to be left behind is the case of a mentally handicapped boy who has progressed to be among the top five students every term in addition to being the class representative.

In pursuit of self sustainability of the students, at the moment seven boys are involved in capentry and are able to make simple implements such as chopping boards and stools. Six pupils are good in beads and are able to make a variety of bead jewelry among other things. Infact one girl was able to reach a good enough level in table cloth making that since she left the school she continues to make table cloths to supplement her parents earnings.

The Visitors admire some handicrafts made by the pupils (inset: some handicrafts made by the students)

Challenges and Needs

In spite of the growth and select success stories, the school still faces several hurdles. The key challenge remains the fact that some of the pupils are seriously handicapped to the extent that they cannot even tend to themselves or feed themselves. The school also continues to rely heavily on the teachers, well wishers and churches for daily survival. The entire unit’s water needs are also met using a fifty thousand litre water tank that relies on scarce rain water in which case sometimes the school has to buy water at a high cost using their meager resources.

Among the things that were identified as key, is the possibility of the school having a borehole that would be able to meet the water needs of the pupil. Some of the excess water can also be sold or used for irrigation farming which would go along way in ensuring long term sustainability.

The School water tank.

Way Forward: Documentary on the School

During the May 2011 visit by MESPT and other partners a MESPT put together a documentary about the school that was done by Finetech. This documentary may help to sensitize other like minded partners to visit the school, identify areas they can help and pursue without necessarily having to come through MESPT.

At the same occasion, the PEMFAM group representative Martha Kihoro gave a speech on behalf of PEMFAM which donated among other things:-

- Full School Uniforms for all the 55 pupils

Students dressed in Uniform, shoes and socks donated by the CSR team.

On the other hand, Margaret Miano the MESPT CSR Committee chairperson thanked all those who had donated various items to unit and hoped that MESPT initiative will help mobilize more partners to tackle the key needs of the unit. Among the things that were donated by MESPT included:-

- Pairs of shoes and socks for all the 55 pupils

- 12 Mattresses

- 4 Footballs

- Sanitary Towels

- Exercise Books

- Tissues

- Clothes

- Soaps

- Food stuffs

Some of the items that were donated by the visitors.

The visit was concluded at 3. p.m. with a vote of thanks and prayers before the visitors left.

Mater Heart Run 2011

It is estimated that 1 percent or new born children are born with a heart complication, another 1 percent develop the problem as a result of untreated throat complications especially in third world countries.The average cost of reconstructive surgery to remedy the condition locally is slightly more than half a million shillings, which in many cases is beyond the reach of ordinary Kenyan households.

The mater heart run was initially set up over 10 years ago to raise money to support 100 children undergo heart operations and has grown over time.In the year 2010 more than 25,000 people took part raising 25.7 million shillings that in support of 210 children.

MESPT is proud to be a part of this noble course as part of its CSR and took part in 2010 for the first time.The year 2011 was no different as members of staff and their families came out strongly to support the event.

MESPT takes part in the Mater Heart Run 2010

As part of the MESPT CSR, MESPT members of staff all took part in the run for the first time in 2010 together with their family members. The event was also used by the company for team building and to encourage staff members to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The mater heart run is an annual event that is organized by the mater hospital in conjunction with other main sponsors to help raise money that is used to perform treatment surgery for needy children with cardiac ailments.

The Mater Heart run 2010 was organized on May 15th with over 100 companies participating, schools and even individuals. MESPT plans to continue participating in many other community activities as part of its CSR and to enhance the staff team spirit.

Below is a collection of photographs showing members of staff taking part:-

MESPT ABD CSR: Migwani Sub Unit for the Mentally Handicapped


Migwani Special Sub unit for the mentally handicapped was started in the year 1994, then with only four children who were all day scholars. At the time the sub unit had only one classroom. The sub unit is hosted by Migwani AIC Primary School in the newly created Mwingi West district.

The purpose of carving the sub unit out of the main primary school was to start a special school that would cater for the needs of mentally handicapped children from around Mwingi and its neighborhood. In the year 2000 the school became a boarding school then with about fourteen children.

When the sub unit was started, it quickly attracted handicapped children in their numbers most of them dumped at the sub unit by their parents who considered it good riddance. It did not take time for the sub unit to start experiencing problems with food and water supply given the fact that the school is located in the semi-arid regions of Eastern province. Other challenges the school faces include accommodation, lack of equipment and materials for training the children in practical skills that they can use to become self reliant.

The Challenge

It is common for many parents to regard the birth of children with disability as some kind of misfortune, as is expected such children are treated unfairly and sometimes completely neglected by their parents. It is also the case that the parents may be disabled as well or too poor to provide for the basic let alone the special needs of the children.

Above pupils entertain visitors with a song

There are many kinds of disabilities among them blindness, lack of hearing or speaking disability. Experience has shown that blind children can be taught to read and write in Braille, the deaf can learn through the use of sign language and better still those who are dumb can be taught and educated like any other normal children. What if a child is mentally handicapped? How does one go about teaching such children any basic knowledge and skills that they can use to earn a living? This is the challenge that is faced by teachers at the sub unit at. To further put this in context the pupils seen above singing a song had taken almost a year to learn the song.

The sub unit is currently run by committed parents, teachers and well wishers through the school’s management committee. Being only a sub unit, the school faces a technical challenge in that it is not able to benefit from the free primary education-this targets only fully fledged primary schools. In fact with its current population of 60 pupils, the sub unit has already exceeded the maximum limit set for units by the Ministry of Education which is 18 pupils. The elevation of the sub unit to a Primary School would also enable it to benefit from the National Fund for the disabled.

MESPT ABD Intervention

Through the contribution of well wishers and partners such as the local CDF kitty, the school has been able to achieve great milestones notably the construction of a new dormitory and the construction of a new water storage tank. Apart from this, the school faces the daily challenge of being able to provide food, clothing and shelter for all the sixty pupils. This problem is further aggravated by the fact that even when the school closes most of the children remain at the school since their parents do not come to pick them up.

It is in this light that the MESPT ABD CSR committee identified the sub unit and organized a visit to the school on Monday the 31st of May 2010. During the visit the staff were received by the head teacher Mrs. Kasina, the acting Head of the main primary school Mrs. Kilonzo as well as the children and other teachers. A function was organized by the school management for the staff to meet and interact with the children. During the function the children were all well kempt and pleased to receive the visitors. The children entertained the visitors with several songs and a poem both in the local dialect as well as in English and Kiswahili.

During the visit, MESPT ABD CSR donated the following:-

15 beds

15 mattresses

40 blankets

12 dozens of knitting wool

3 bags of maize

1 bag of rice

2 Bales of Maize Flour

½ a bag of beans

Cooking fat among others

At the same gathering a former headmaster Mr. Ngatia presented the sub unit with a CDF cheque meant for the completion of the new dormitory. The school administration was very appreciative of the contributions made by all, they thanked and prayed for all who went out of their way to make a contribution.

Success Stories

Despite the many challenges the school faces, it strives to achieve its main aim which is to teach the pupils some basic literacy, basic numeracy and some functional/adaptive practical skills to help them become self reliant.

Some of the success stories include those of a young boy known as Kiilu who improved so much that he was integrated into the mainstream primary school only to emerge 5th position out of a whooping 52 pupils. Others include Naomi & Kimanzi who have mastered practical skills in weaving. To top it all up there was the example of a young man called Peter who graduated from the school and is now earning himself a living at the local shopping center.

The children are also able to develop a variety of products among them vitambaa, keyholders, earings, necklaces and so on.

The Way Forward

During the meeting emphasis was put on income generating activities. All well wishers present were of the view that products made by the school should be marketed for generation of income instead of perpetual dependence on hand outs. In fact during the meeting the unit head teacher Mrs. Kasina announced the intention of the unit to venture into tailoring of uniforms for the entire school by the sub unit. Last but not least the school management welcomed any contributions from other well wishers not necessarily material but also ideas that can propel the sub unit to self sustainability.