Inspirational Tid-Bits

As we mentioned in the update this week, we presented our Final Report to a few representatives of the ELCT-ND last week. The Final Report was partially a review of the strategic plan and an update on some projects that we have been working with BCC to complete. We also presented some successes over the past year as well as some (potentially groundbreaking) projects that BCC will be working on in the future. We wrote our report and presentation with great hopes for BCC, and we left the meeting room after our presentation with even greater hopes.

Below you will find a few photos of us giving our presentation. At the conclusion of our presentation, (after telling us that our final task is to send replacements!), the General Secretary told us that he loved our Tanzanian outfits!

One of the major successes over the past year is the Pro-Mot Healthcare program. We have done extensive research about health programs for children with intellectual disabilities in developing countries so that we could learn about other programs and potentially model our program after another program. From what we can tell, there are very few, if any, programs that serve this demographic in the developing world. BCC has had to simply create their own program based on some ideas (such as regular medical student visits to the day centers) and suggestions from KCMC (such as having bi-annual preventive healthcare screenings at a central location). It has been a fantastic opportunity to explore healthcare options for a program that may be one of the first of its kind for this demographic.

Another major success has been BCC’s new relationship with Imani Vocational School. Through this program, young adults with intellectual disabilities will have an opportunity to receive an education along with marketable skills. Upon the conclusion of the program, young adults with intellectual disabilities will receive microcredit loans or employment through a social business. This will not only provide financial support for the young adult and their family, but it will also break down cultural barriers and prove that individuals with intellectual disabilities can give back to their families just like a child who does not have disabilities.

This takes us to another point. We are not very confident that a microcredit program exists specifically for individuals with intellectual disabilities outside of the IMPACT Alliance. We visited the IMPACT project in Kisumu, Kenya in November. After our visit we wrote about the project on our blog (http://mosaicfellows.tumblr.com/post/14559567802/through-their-eyes) and one of their major focuses includes giving microcredit loans directly to individuals with intellectual disabilities. We have done extensive research in Kenya and Uganda to see if a similar program exists outside of the IMPACT Alliance. We could not find anything specifically for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This does not necessarily mean that a program does not exist, it just means that there is very little information available on microcredit lending to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Most of the things we saw throughout our research included individuals with physical disabilities. If BCC can continue to grow this program, it could be one of two known programs that administer microcredit loans to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Another hope that we have for BCC is the child registration advocacy effort. Genevieve has inspired us so much by taking ownership of the advocacy effort. She is speaking with parents, caregivers, center workers, special education teachers, and church representatives about the importance of the advocacy effort. It is so important for every child to have access to a quality education. Not only has BCC worked very hard to register school aged children for special education class, but they have produced phenomenal results. Of the 48 children who have been registered, 28 have been accepted. Of the 28 who have been accepted, 16 cannot attend public school because the schools are too far from the child’s home. Twelve children are attending public school. BCC will use this information to advocate for more educational services for children with intellectual disabilities in Moshi. It is very inspiring to be a part of this effort! We have so much hope for this program, for the children, and for their families!

We also have a lot of belief in the social businesses that BCC is working to develop. BCC has two bag cooperatives – they are working to refine the Pasua beading cooperative, and they are working to establish a construction cooperative. We believe that businesses such as these are the future of philanthropy, fundraising, and business in general. To have a business that not only employs the caregivers of children served, by BCC but also financially supports and sustains the BCC project in general is a fantastic idea! This type of business idea has the potential to be very powerful everywhere in the world!

Finally, we believe in the staff and management team of BCC. We have seen an incredible transition during our time here. Four months ago, when Susie from Mosaic was here, she worked to train the BCC staff to become trainers themselves. The BCC staff members were all extremely nervous about the training. They were very intimidated about becoming trainers and feared having to answer questions at the end of the training. We mentioned in the Update this week that BCC gave training to Imani Vocational School teachers last week. Genevieve and Pastor James were confident and did a phenomenal job training the staff at Imani! They initiated conversation, answered difficult questions, and, by the end, Imani asked them to come back and do other trainings for their staff. After the training, we told Genevieve and Pastor James that they are now the local experts in the provision of services for children with intellectual disabilities! They were proud of the program and of themselves!

We think that they should be very proud of themselves. BCC has evolved as an organization and the staff members have grown as individuals so much over the past year. It has been beyond inspiring for us to be able to witness the growth, excitement, and hope!

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