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Kamau is a young boy aged 13; he is mentally challenged and staying with his uncle. When we met him we realized immediately that the stories about his neglect had not been exaggerated. His face was covered with his own waste, his pants were torn and the nails of his cramped hands extremely long and dirty. Although Kamau got very exited by all the attention of our visit it took us time to overcome the smell and dirt surrounding him. Naturally we got a bit upset with the uncle who was present and ordered for some water and soap to clean his face, forgetting that our anger would not assist Kamau or the uncle.
Afterwards one of our social workers calmed him down and engaged him in dialogue as the other members of the organisation assessed the environment. They discovered that Kamau was kept in a separate room on the compound, this room was everything to Kamau , his toilet, his bedroom and the place to eat.  
It was concerning to see how stigma can lead to such neglect.
The boy on the other hand was still joyful and energetic and during the time spent with him we realized that there was enough potential in him to make me much more self reliant.
Despite his disability brightness and passion for life sizzled at the surface.
Before leaving, the staff encouraged the uncle and the volunteer to follow up the case more closely. Reflecting on the possibility of Kamau becoming one of the possible core members of the Effatha Home the journey was made back to the St. Martin CSA office.

Within the target area there are many more children suffering like Kamau. From all the cases of disabilities handled by the Community Programme for People with Disabilities an average of 6% are mental challenged. This particular group of people with disabilities often suffers more because there is no clear treatment as to other disabilities where aids or operations can give instant improvement. This feeling contributes to stigma and increases neglect. People with mental disabilities therefore deserve special care and protection.

St. Martin CSA seeks to create for people with disabilities a family like environment in which they gain a deeper sense of their own worth through the bond of friendship. The organisation wishes to bring people with and without a handicap together. Understanding that the most precious human gifts are rooted in weakness and that in welcoming the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us we have an opportunity to be spiritually nourished by them. To facilitate this family like environment, St. Martin CSA is in the process of opening a Home in which a few people with a mental handicap can live amicably with people who wish to enter into friendship with them.
St. Martin CSA believes that everyone has talents and once developed they can be of benefit to the society. With the right training and proper guidance a boy like Kamau could easily be engaged in simple activities as gardening, cattle rearing and cleaning . Kamau has the capacity to give his service to the community and by doing so participate actively in community life and receive recognition and respect. The ‘Effatha Home’ wishes to be a message of hope and love in which the precious gifts of the vulnerable can be shared with the community.

Over the many years of service to the poor St. Martin CSA has realized the importance of the vulnerable in our lives. The experience that by accepting the weaknesses of others we get more in touch with our own disabilities and through that process we have the opportunity to heal our hearts.  This gives us a chance to come down to humility and love in which we can serve our brothers and sisters whether rich or poor, strong or weak, able or disabled.

St. Martin CSA has acquired a piece of land with a building not far away from the main offices. This compound is currently undergoing renovation to make it a suitable environment for this new community.  In the mean time a special committee is processing the possible first members of the home and mobilizing the religious leaders within the area to ensure community participation once the doors of the ‘Effatha Home’ are open. Everyone involved in St. Martin CSA is looking forward to the opening in April 2008, looking forward to this new chapter in our community.

St.Martin CSA Annual Reports


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