In January 2012, our exchange visitors from Amesbury visited the Special Needs School in Ekwanda. The school is part of a large Ekwanda Primary School. However the special needs students are housed separately from the general school population. They are further stigmatized by not having the standard school uniforms that all other primary students at the school wear every day.
The special needs teachers, Febronia Mwambingu and Nashon Osango, requested could we please provide uniforms for the children so that they would feel proud to go to school and would fit in with the other students during sports, recess, assembly and other school events.
After the visitors returned, AFA was invited by Jean Young of the Beverly (Massachusetts) School for the Deaf to speak at the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church in Danvers. Amesbury for Africa President Mark Bean spoke to the congregation and told the story of Ekwanda Special Needs. The congregation agreed to donate that Sunday’s offering of $425 to buy uniforms for the kids. Amesbury for Africa contributed the rest and on June 1 all the 30 students at Ekwanda Special Needs received a uniform.
AFA member and special needs teacher Fran McConnell continues to be in contact with Febronia and we hope this project will be yet another on-going friendship-based development activity for the benefit of both Amesbury and Esabalu .