Gasper and Devota Rock love their children and want them all to receive an education, but raising three children with special needs in a remote part of Northern Tanzania raises many challenges, and they are asking for help. The family share a tiny two room house. Devota was hired for part-time work but had to quit because her eldest son Dickson (17) requires a full-time caretaker. He has cerebral palsy and requires constant care and frequent hospital visits. The father searches for work farms every day that he is able, but is unable to secure steady work in the midst of frequent droughts within a remote area. The family often goes without meals trying to make ends meet between hospital payments, their two daughters' (Ansila, 8, and Epifania, 5) school fees, and basic needs for their family.
Two of their sons, Earnest (11), and Godfrey (13), are full of potential, but they have learning disabilities which cannot be accommodated by local schools. They need to attend a special school, which the family can't afford.
Earnest and Godfrey have the opportunity to enroll at the Gabriella Centre, a wonderful school that is committed to empowering children with learning disabilities to be happy and independent members of their society. The school's focus is teaching valuable vocational skills to kids with special needs. They also offer monthly "Therapy Weeks" which Dickson can attend with his mother, so she can learn additional methods and tools as his caretaker, and so Dickson can become more mobile.
Why the Gabriella Centre?
Earnest has dyslexia, which effectively removes the possibility for him to be in the Tanzanian school system as it is currently organized. There are none of the essential learning allowances for dyslexic children available when it comes to exams, or teaching in classrooms. Without the Gabriella Centre, Earnest would fall into the trap of having no education. Already he has gone years without schooling.
Godfrey has more severe learning disabilities, and also has no other option for schooling. The Gabriella Centre can help both of these boys reach their full potential, and become independent. The Centre exists to offer a promising future to children that are otherwise forsaken by the education system.
The Gabriella Centre vocational training is focused on teaching kids the skills that they need to take care of and support themselves. Therapists and teachers give individualized attention to each student to determine their skills and help develop them. The Centre's work includes continued support and evaluation for the child even after they finish their schooling. Gabriella Centre employees do home visits, and involve local leaders from each child's home village or town to make sure they have a smooth and supported transition back into society.
Where is the money going?
$4290 covers two full years at the Gabriella Centre for Earnest and Godfrey. After assessing the boys at three different therapy weeks this year, the Centre recommends two years for both of them. Depending on their progress this time may need to be extended.
$110 covers uniform costs for Earnest and Godfrey.
$200 covers school supplies and personal boarding supplies for two years for Earnest and Godfrey.
$400 covers 12 Therapy Weeks for Devota Rock to attend with her eldest child Dickson. On his way to a Therapy Week earlier this year Dickson rode in a car for the first time in his 17 years of life. Therapists at the Gabriella Centre teach physical therapy techniques for Dickson, and are helping his mother build a chair so he can be more mobile. Currently he needs to be carried everywhere he goes. After Dickson's first Therapy Week, Devota was in tears because she was so grateful for the expert help and community that the Centre offers.
Who will manage the money?
All donations will be managed by O'Brien School for the Maasai , a primary school, NGO, and certified 501(c)(3) located 45 minutes from the Gabriella Centre. Ansila, one of the Rock family's daughters, attends the 2nd grade at O'Brien School.
The next school year starts January 1, 2018.
Thank You (Asante Sana)
Thank you for taking the time to read the Rock family's story. An education at the Gabriella Centre would empower Earnest and Godfrey to become independent, contributing members of their society. Perhaps one day they can become leaders and agents of change for other children with special needs who just need the opportunity to access education . You can expect frequent updates about Earnest and Godfrey's progress. Asante sana (thank you in Swahili)!
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