Superkids in Ethiopia
Kelly and Keely Update
We basically hit the ground running in our time here at Addis. After quickly getting settled in (buying groceries and a cell phone), we spent the last two days getting acquainted with two of the government orphanages: Kababitsahay and Kechene. We are so excited and have tons of beautiful kiddos and great projects to tell you all about, but first a quick introduction to the orphanages.
Kababitsahay houses infants through children aged 12, both girls and boys. Kechene has a small number of young children under the age of 12 but is primarily a home for young women 12-18 years old. All the children in the orphanages are finishing up school and about to begin summer vacation.
Basically the last two days we have been holding lots of babies and playing with kids in order to perform a very VERY general physical therapy triage to see what kids are in the most need of our services. We have also done a lot of observation of the caregivers and the structure of the orphanage to better understand the children’s routine: including their positioning, feeding, sleeping and play patterns. What we do know is that they all love to be held and cuddled. It is heartbreaking to let go of one even if it is to pick up another.
These observations and discussions with the director of the orphanage have given us a lot of great ideas. Our programs will aim to improve the movement and the development of the children as well as educate and supporte the caregivers and other orphanage staff. We hope to
have a more solid outline of these programs in the next week, but for now here is a glimpse of our plans:
1. Direct 1 on 1 care: There are currently 5 children with physical impairments limiting their participation in all activities. We are confident that we can positively impact their functional abilities with physical therapy interventions. We will develop and implement treatment plans which we will teach caregivers to continue upon our departure. We were delighted at the spirit of these beautiful children. They are all full of life and smiles and love all this new attention. Very soon we will introduce you to them individually.
2. Caregiver education: We will implement several full-day training sessions for all the child care providers. These programs will include education in: proper positioning/holding/lifting, feeding guidelines, hygiene, the importance of play, promoting bonding, behavior modification and tips to help caregivers with body mechanics and scheduling to ease their burden as well.
3. Age matched play groups: We are going to have play groups of 3-4 similar aged children and work on developmentally appropriate play, movement and peer interactions. We can’t wait to see their faces as we slowly begin to introduce all the toys we have brought to share!
4. Jewelry Program: Gladney provided jewelry and craft materials such as beads. ribbons and threads which we will deliver to the young women of Kechene. They will make jewelry and crafts that we will bring back to the United States and sold to support the children of Kechene. (so save your Christmas money!!!)
Thank you endlessly for your support of Superkids- Ethiopia. We are so excited to have the opportunity to serve these children on behalf of all of you! Since being here, we have had the opportunity to realize the enormous impact that Gladney Center for Adoption has on the welfare of these children. We are amazed at the breadth of support they provide to orphans and the orphanage system including: education, nutrition, clothing/shoes, shelter, medical needs and the list goes on and on. It is truly an inspiration to be involved with this organization that is invested in these children with such integrity and love. We will carry this vision and your support in all our interactions with these wonderful children!!
Kelly and Keely, DPT