The Special Needs Clinic at Tenwek Hospital

A Special Message from Bill and Penny Hage

Having a child with a disability in Kenya is an enormous emotional, physical, and financial burden for children and their families. The cost of therapy and equipment is simply unaffordable for many families, leaving many children underserved. They live in isolation, having no access to basic medical care, education, or adaptive equipment. Family members often are unable to work since they must stay home to care for a disabled child.

Five years ago, the idea of opening a clinic at Tenwek Hospital dedicated to these children with special needs was just a dream – one cherished by the hospital’s only physical therapist, Solomon Rop. With Solomon’s tireless advocacy and compassion, gifts of time and talent from visiting occupational and physical therapists – and the generous support of many faithful donors – that dream has become a reality.

Every Friday, Solomon sees up to 30 patients at Tenwek’s Special Needs Clinic (SNC) – children from birth to age 18 who present with a variety of diagnoses including spina bifida, cerebral palsy, club feet, cleft palate, and numerous other physical and developmental disabilities. He also regularly visits children in their homes and at the Bomet Children’s Home to deliver wheelchairs and other adaptive devices.

 

 

The SNC is transforming the lives of children and their families. To date, over 300 children rely on clinic services for medical evaluation, rehabilitation assessment and planning, and wheelchair/adaptive device measurements and fittings – and new patients arrive weekly.

Recognizing how important it is for children to gain the social and educational benefits of attending school, the SNC also works in partnership with Bomet County’s Ministries of Education and Social Services, the Africa Gospel Church, and local schools to ensure that children with disabilities can access appropriate school programs.

Because of our work in occupational therapy and orthopedic surgery, this need touched our hearts in a special way when we saw it first-hand at Tenwek Hospital in 2016. In collaboration with Friends of Tenwek, we helped develop the Faith Fund for Special Needs to help struggling Kenyan families afford life-changing services for their children.

 

 

The Shining Example of Faith

 

We named the fund for Faith, a young girl with spina bifida and one of the first SNC patients. Faith spent the first seven years of her life crawling on her hands and knees. After SNC staff determined she had enough strength and sensation to walk with the aid of crutches, Solomon loaned Faith the only pediatric walker that Tenwek owned and fitted her with a sturdy shoe. Just six days after her initial visit to the SNC, Faith took her first steps into a new and brighter future!

Faith’s grandmother, caring for four other children, could not have afforded her care without assistance. The clinical care, plus an emergency room admission and one-night stay in the hospital totaled about $50 – an impossible amount for her family, but an insightful example of the impact U.S. dollars can make.

 

 

Enoch’s Transformation

Enoch has a severe form of cerebral palsy and at age eight had never been able to sit independently. He was completely dependent upon his mother for care and mobility. Using SNC resources, Solomon worked with a local carpenter to craft a special adaptive chair that enabled Enoch to sit upright and attend school and church for the first time in his life! For an investment of $30 USD, Enoch’s life was transformed!

100% of all contributions to the Faith Fund help families pay for general therapy assessment and treatment, as well as developmental devices, wheelchairs, braces, prosthesis, crutches, and special seating. Clinic visits cost from $5-$20 USD. The cost for special wheelchairs suitable for use in Kenya’s rural terrain range from $150-$350 USD. The cost to operate the SNC is approximately $4500 per calendar quarter.

The SNC is entirely dependent on gifts to the Faith Fund from compassionate donors who recognize the life-changing impact their gifts can make for a special needs child.

Your Opportunity to Make a Gift that will Make a Difference 

We have seen the incredible impact that gifts from generous donors can make in the lives of special needs children who want nothing more than to join their siblings and friends in school and play. We humbly ask you to make a gift today to Faith Fund for Special Needs – knowing that your gift will make a powerful difference.

This can be a single gift, or you may want to prayerfully consider becoming a “Sustaining Friend” of Tenwek’s Special Needs Clinic. This giving option is a monthly pledge in any amount you choose that is automatically directed to Friends of Tenwek (via credit card or auto withdrawal from a bank account) until you tell us to cancel the gift.
All gifts of any size are gratefully accepted and will be used exclusively for the Faith Fund.

You can make your gift by using the links below to access a secure, online donation form.

YES, I want to make a single gift to the Faith Fund for Special Needs

YES, I want to become a Sustaining Friend through a recurring gift to the Faith Fund for Special Needs
 

Thank you very much for your prayerful consideration of this appeal on behalf of Kenya’s children with special needs. Your thoughtfulness and generosity will encourage and transform many lives!

William Hage, MD (Orthopedic Surgeon)                Penny Hage, MS, OTR/L (Physical Therapist)