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The unsung heroes of Kivuli Trust

July 5th 2024  |   Community Safaris  |  by   Amelia
The unsung heroes of Kivuli Trust

The story of Kivuli Trust all began with the founder Paula Pape, stumbling upon a small wooden classroom on the outskirts of town, in Nakuru County, Kenya. Inside she was met by a dozen children all with varying degrees of mental and physical disabilities being cared for by a single teacher, Rhoda. Paula’s empathy and generosity paired with Rhoda’s dedication and passion to support these children who have been dealt a tough start to life has paved the way to a community that fosters acceptance and awareness for the disabled.

The opportunity for a brighter future for these children sidelined by society is down to the selfless staff at Gilgil Special School and the incredible support of Kivuli Trust. The staff stem from a variety of different backgrounds, all with their own unique experiences, stories and skill sets. In this blog, we shine a spotlight on the individuals whose generosity and kindness have helped better so many lives.

Rhoda, Deputy Headteacher of Gilgil Special School, Manager of Kivuli Hostels

A pillar of the community, Rhoda moved to Gilgil in 1995 with her family to lead a unit at the township school as a special education teacher. 29 years later she has watched it grow from one small classroom of six children to a school in its own right with six classrooms, 12 teaching staff, and 125 students and a waitlist of many. Through her partnership with Kivuli Trust, she has been instrumental in creating a boarding hostel that provides access to education for children living further afield and a haven to protect those vulnerable travelling to and from school. Rhoda is now Deputy Headteacher of Gilgil Special School and Manager of Kivuli Hostels.

Kivuli Trust Hostel, Rhoda the deputy head teacher

Peter, Physiotherapist at Kivuli Hostels

As Gilgil’s resident physiotherapist, Peter previously worked in a hospital before being headhunted by Rhoda to Gilgil, where he oversees the medical requirements for the children. Each day is different, from daily rehabilitation exercises to providing medicine, support and care for those with epilepsy or diabetes.

“Working with these children is the most fulfilling job you can ever have. They are honest and easy to deal with and brighten my day from morning to night with their smiles, playfulness and excitement. I have helped many children move from wheelchair to walking. I have had to come to terms with learning that ‘patience pays’.”

Peter at Kivuli Trust

Mary, Assistant Manager at Kivuli Hostels

A member of staff since 2016, Mary joined the school with her daughter Anne. After tragically losing both Anne and her son to a brain injury as a result of meningitis, Mary has dedicated her time and love to supporting and nurturing the children of Kivuli, a cause close to home. Starting in the kitchen she progressed to store manager and now assistant manager of the boarding hostels, a true testament to her hard work, commitment and dedication to the wellbeing of the students.

“The thing I love most about my job is being an advocate for the rights of special children – speaking up for them when they can’t talk, being their legs when they can’t walk and holding their hands and leading them forwards to a better and brighter future.”

Mary at Kivuli Trust

Caroline, live-in Career at Kivuli Hostels

The time, love and effort poured into making these children feel safe and cared for is seen in each member of staff and Caroline is no different. Dedicating her life to creating a home environment for the children of Kivuli her role as a live-in carer plays an immense part in their overall well-being.

‘Taking care of these children is for me not just a job but a calling. I want the children to feel loved and cared for in a home from home environment. My job gives me so much joy and satisfaction, making a positive difference in the lives of these special children.”

Caroline at Kivuli Trust

Kivuli Trust’s vision for the future

Is to send Kivuli graduates to a local vocational centre so that they can further develop the skills they have acquired in our classes and are well equipped for the life ahead. Every one of these children is special and has something to give to society. It is always incredibly humbling to visit the children in their homes and to see the positive impact Kivuli has made on their lives. The dream is for them to continue to get the most they can out of life.

This year Aardvark Safaris will be donating a proportion of its profit to Kivuli Trust. For further details about the charity and how you can help support the “forgotten children of Kivuli”, visit their website kivulitrust.org.

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