Special Needs, Health and Education

With Rose home, at last, we were hoping that we would have all our children here at Watoto Kicheko, for a change. But two of our children are now in hospital, Elinipa and Careen. Elinipa will have lifelong health needs, but she has been relatively healthy so far. Careen, however, has spent a good deal of time in hospital already, more than she has at home.

Children with Special Needs

Special needs at Watoto Kicheko

Special needs at Watoto Kicheko

Watoto Kicheko tends to receive children with special needs, particularly babies. Many are premature, some are abandoned, mothers die giving birth, there are disabilities, unexplained sicknesses and some who have identifiable sicknesses, but whose care is far too expensive for their family.

Tanzania is a poor country, with a high disease burden and patchy healthcare services. Only about half of women in Tanzania choose to give birth in health facilities. But that may be because they are aware that bad healthcare can be more risky than no healthcare. It is certainly more expensive than alternatives, such as community volunteers and others who have experience, but little scope for any difficulties during delivery.

There are few services for children with special needs. Basic equipment such as incubators are in short supply, as are equipment and supplies for intensive care facilities. But the biggest lack is the right training and education, even management and supervision, to care for especially needy babies and mothers. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow into the country for a handful of diseases. Take, for example, HIV; more than 99% of infants do not have HIV (and 95% of adults don’t).

Special Needs Sponsorship

Special needs at Watoto Kicheko

Special needs at Watoto Kicheko

Children with special needs who are lucky enough to get the care they need are often to be found in orphanages, baby homes and other facilities set up using donor funding, private sponsorship, foreign foundations and trusts. In fact, social services will often refer those with special needs to NGOs and other non-state funded institutions because they are the only places that can supply what is required.

Watoto Kicheko is run on funding from The Laughter of a Child Foundation, and that will allow a lot of children to grow up to be independent adults. But certain hospital and other costs for children with special needs have to be met through donations and other funds. School fees, also, are very high, and also need to be met through generous sponsors.

Tanzanian Baby Home for Special Needs

Watoto Kicheko is the only orphanage in the Arusha region that mainly caters for children with special needs, many of whose circumstances will require attention for the rest of their lives. So if you are able to provide sponsorship, partially sponsor a child, sponsor a member of staff, help pay for a project or for certain assets, or even make a once-off donation, please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

By Simon Collery

Simon Collery has been an online content writer and blogger since the late 1990s, developing content for an information industry website, and later, writing about development, HIV, human rights and other subjects, mainly in East Africa. He is a co-founder of the Don't Get Stuck Collective, a group of people who write and agitate for greater recognition of non-sexually transmitted HIV and other bloodborne disease, especially through unsafe healthcare, cosmetic and traditional practices, mainly in Africa and Asia. He also blogs about media depictions of African people, unethical practices by publicly funded western institutions in African countries, mass male circumcision programs carried out in African countries using mainly US funding, and other subjects. He has a particular interest in Kenya and Tanzania.