The organization is currently running a number of programs as indicated above but due to lack of funds, most activities are not smoothly running as they should be.
Currently the organization has no external source of funding except contributions from parents of children with special needs and the stake holders/founder members.
Majority of parents are unable even to raise the promised contribution and those who try still don’t pay in time but still keep bringing children for services others stop coming with a lot of debts and this constrains a number of activities.
The little money raised is still not enough to ensure the smooth running of organizational programs and activities both item, material, equipment wise and welfare of children, staff and alike.
The organization requires external support to meet a number of challenges currently faced that are both organization and parents related in nature. Generally, the challenges are highlighted below;
• Lack of funds to meet rent of premises, feed children and staff, meet staffs salaries, purchase rehabilitation equipment, item and materials. Currently, the organization shifted to new and bigger premises with high rent and very few turn up of students/children as of now. There is need to feed children and staff on a daily basis, pay salaries to staff, and meet the needed items on a daily use which all require money. This is very challenging because the majority of parents fail to pay the contributions to look after their children as promised and yet they bring them for services.
• Lack of support to parents of children with special needs. Majority of parents with children with special needs are single mothers without source of employment and facing socio-economic constraints. These can’t raise financial contributions to look after their children and yet such children need great support. Others have failed to raise money for hospital reviews, appliances needed, medication and special diet for their children among others. These parents need support to enable their children live a happy life.
• Inability to implement some organizational programs. Due lack of finance a number of organization’s programs and activities are at stand still and this inhibits progress towards reaching its vision.
• Lack of money to expand the vocation skills training department. Many children with special needs that are with moderate learning difficulties (formerly mental retardation) and are above 13 years may not be in position to excel in academics following assessment and training. These children are however blessed and with hidden potentials to excel in practical vocational skills which when supported. It’s also our big concern that these children learn practical skills which can enable them in future to attain economic independence especially when their parents are no longer alive. Also engagement in a meaningful occupation helps them to be productive to themselves, their families, the community and the nation and attain better health and wellbeing there by living a decent life. While we are optimistic to make this happen, we are financially challenged, making us seek for help and support.
• Lack of market for vocational items made by children. We have tried to train our children on a small scale in basic vocational skills like making of ; Drug envelopes of all sizes, paper bags; craft shoes, table cloths, mats, jewellery as in necklaces, ear rings, bangles, bead bags; take away bags and alike. Despite this great trial and in puts, we have a lot of finished products which have greatly lacked market are in store with us. This hinders further production.
• Lack of children’s van. Children with special needs require to live a balanced life like any other human beings involving work, self-care and play/leisure. They need to go and have fun like in swimming, for sports, outings, shopping, tours and alike. The absence of children’s van limits the implementation of such activities making them to live unbalanced life. More to this is that some children can’t walk by themselves and requires use of wheel chairs and due to stigma, some public vehicles can’t allow to be hired and a few that can accept hike the charges and become un affordable. Also some parents can’t manage to bring their children to and from the Centre due to traffic jam, financial challenges, children unable to walk by themselves, inability to use public means of transport with special needs children and a like. These challenges can be solved using Children’s van and financial support.
• Lack of enough food for feeding the children and staff. Children are first and foremost children whether they have special needs or not. While they are developing like any other child, they need a balanced diet including all nutrients. Similarly, like us without special needs they also need to eat well and look healthy. This implies that there is need to alter their daily diet including foods with proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, iron, vitamins and other nutritional supplements. They can’t feed on one type of food for a whole term and continue to live a healthy life. The absence of such foods and money to purchase them hinders proper feeding and needs to be rectified.
• Lack of funds to conduct outreaches. While serving clients at the Centre has been very helpful with a healing effect and significant improvements, reaching out to other communities who are not aware of such services, sensitizing them about children with special needs, offering free trainings to parents and carers of such children, provision of medications, offering appliances and overcoming stigma in most societies, remain a vital task and constructive program to conduct for a better nation. This however requires a number of items, equipment, materials and money which are not available at present.
• Stigma and discrimination. Having introduced a day care Centre in the same area for children with special needs, the majority of people who have come with an intention and a great need to bring their children for day care, baby, middle and top classes have appreciated our premises with cheapest charges but upon moving in the environment and seeing children with special needs their facial outlook changes with comments like “ “aaaah you even have these ones, ooooh-haaaa these ones also stay here?, our children learn with these ones also?, wont these ones who are drooling saliva(children with special needs) infect our children?, any way the environment is very ok but now these ones…..?, lets discuss we shall be getting to you!” and other statements of the like. They have failed to return for such services. This implies that there is still stigma in our societies and discrimination which when not worked upon would affect the future of these children with special needs and the new generations. There is need to offer incentives, offer bursaries, inspire, advocate for integration programs in various schools, public places and alike to enable these children grow in a welcoming society.
PARENT RELATED CHALLENGES
• Inability to meet needs of special needs children especially rehabilitation fees, treatment costs, feeding, paying professional carers for their children.
• Lack of social support from other parents and community members.
• Lack of employment as a source of income for survival
• Social economic challenges and family breakdown
• Stigma and discrimination of children, parents with loss of friends
• Lack of government support to offer appliances, treatment and rehabilitation services
• Lack of awareness and early intervention services for children with special needs
• Loss of hope and discouragement from other people about special needs children
• Neglect from fathers of children with special needs