Launched in 2009 the Special Needs Education Centre (SNEC) in Kitanga provides a home and an education to children with special needs and learning difficulties. Often marginalised and neglected in their home communities these children are less able to express themselves and are at greater risk of malnutrition and injury.
We currently care for over forty children and young people with varying disabilities.
We ensure they have a roof over their heads, food on their plates and are given an education. Freed from the stigma of disability often placed on children in their home communities, our special needs centre provides a place where they can feel happy, safe and valued.
At SNEC we teach vocational skills, alongside the curriculum, to enable our pupils to be independent and self-sufficient when they feel able to leave the centre. Skills such as carpentry, tailoring, knitting and beading will give them earning capabilities in adult life. We are grateful to Haussmann Treuhand AG for our carpentry workshop. In 2013 we started a pig project with two main aims: to provide a sustainable source of meat for our students to improve their diet; and for the sale of piglets to generate income and cover the food costs of the centre. We now have goats included in the project. Our successful kitchen garden provides food and teaches basic gardening.
Since 2012 Carpe Diem Education Trust in Oregon, USA have regularly sent us groups of volunteers. Helping with everything from refurbishments to assisting with teaching, they are a huge asset to us.
We are always eager to hear from anyone with special needs training who would like to volunteer at this unique centre and help make a difference to the lives of our students.
SNEC is a very special establishment catering for a wide range of children and some adults with very individual needs.
We cannot praise Edirisa UK, other supporting charities and the Education Department enough for developing it. SNEC is a very warm and caring environment and we saw some very good examples to demonstrate this, all staff appeared concerned for the welfare of their pupils .
SNEC feels like a community; this is also seen between pupils who care for each other. More challenging behaviour is addressed appropriately.
Stewart Shuttleworth (Clinical Psychologist)