A Nursing Student at Bangor University is aiming to raise £1,000 for a project to help children with disabilities in East Africa.
Yenita Singer, 24, is in her 3rd year studying Learning Disability Nursing at Bangor and spent two weeks last year at the Ongata Rongai Centre in Kenya and she has recently returned for another visit.
Around 20 children live in the centre, which has no running water and limited resources. Most of the youngsters are unable to leave the centre due to their physical disabilities.
As a result, Yenita, has pledged to try to improve their lives in any way she possibly can and has been raising funds, which included a successful Salsa night in March, to buy essential equipment for the children.
Yenita said: “I first volunteered that the Ongata Rongai Special Needs Care Centre last year, where I was lucky enough to meet the family who run the centre, all of the children living there, the staff who dedicate their time daily and some volunteers at the centre.
“The Centre had 20 people living there when I visited, all who had been found living in the streets or whose parents could not afford to look after them at home as extra help would be required due to their disabilities. The children were often left unattended between meals with little engagement.
“It became clear quite quickly the huge work load that the staff had on a daily basis that was taking them away from spending quality time with the children living there.
“There was one cook, who made all meals using a single propane tank outside. Although there was a stove in the kitchen which has been donated, the gas or electric required for its use is unaffordable. The other staff members spend a considerable amount of time doing the laundry, as it is all done by hand and many of the children require a change of clothes regularly throughout the day. This is time consuming, and again although they had a washing machine donated, it is very costly to use and the centre, which relies on donations, cannot afford this expense.
“As volunteers we ensured that the children were not left unattended, provided personal cares, bought toothbrushes and toothpaste in order to encourage oral hygiene, bought extra fruit, vegetables and meat to increase the nutritional value of the meals, offered therapeutic massage and social interaction.
“I returned to Kenya with the charity on 31st of March this year. Since returning I have been in contact with a number of professionals who have offered advice and information for future visits.
“A paediatrics physiotherapist has offered to donate specialised shoes for a young boy, Brighton, who has undiagnosed cerebral palsy dipegia and is currently unable to walk unsupported. This means that he is not safe when trying to mobilize and will often fall and injure himself.
“The donated shoes and walking frame may mean that the muscles in his legs can be built up so that he can safely mobilize independently, which would be dramatically improve his quality of life.
“Many of the children were unable to leave the centre and are rarely in receipt of medical attention even when it is needed. Due to the lack of access there, I aimed to build or adapt a wheelchair to be suitable for the off road terrain of the roads in Kenya, enabling the children to not only leave the centre for therapeutic reasons, but also to attend medical appointments when they are unwell.
“The wheelchair will not be state of the art but it will be fit for purpose and have potentially life changing benefits. The centre does not have space for a fitted wheelchair for each individual, but this wheelchair will be able to be adapted to properly support whoever needs to make use of it.
Following the very successful salsa event, the funds have been raised for all of the equipment, however transport is still costly. I have a just giving page and this will remain open through the duration of my time in Kenya.
“This is so that if any funds are raised over and above what is needed for the wheelchair, I may be able to provide the children with shoes, replacement toothbrushes as they are probably the same ones bought last year, ADHD medication for a young boy who struggles living in the centre environment without it, any medical attention that may be required, and some smaller clothes for the smaller children as they are dressed in donated clothes and often they do not fit the needs of the children.”
If you would like to donate please visit the Just Giving Page here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/yenita-singer-ongata-rongai