St.Peter’s the Rock school was founded in 2006 by Gladys Deche, a retired social welfare officer who also trained as a teacher. Although she has her own house, she spends most of her time with the disabled children. It was her retirement mission to provide a safe learning and living haven for the children, of which there are currently about 50 aged from 2 to 26! The children’s disabilities include Down’s Syndrome, autism, epilepsy, mental handicap, inability to speak and physical deformity and over a third of the parents are too poor to pay the school or dormitory fees.
Unfortunately, in Kenya, as in many other parts of the world, there is a stigma attached to these lovely children and so many of them board under Gladys’ watchful eye. She is a bundle of energy and fun, with genuine warmth towards the children and adults alike.
The present school is in rented premises squeezed between other buildings on a bustling main road which is both noisy and dusty as lorries, cars and various other vehicles run onto the dried mud edge of the potholed road to avoid each other. It is totally unsuitable for the needs of Gladys, the children and the teachers. The four classrooms are small; one is in a dark corridor and another is part of the kitchen/washing area. The ‘playground’ is a rough piece of ground outside the main building that frequently becomes flooded.
On our first visit a little boy of two, who was paralysed and in a wheelchair, had just been brought in as Gladys had heard that his Mum locked him in the house each night whilst she went on to the streets to earn money for them both. He was being fed and comforted by the caring teachers, which was touching to witness. We also saw a crippled girl of about 7 struggling down stone steps with adult-sized crutches to get to a rough shelter outside for her food.
Please help us to transform these children’s lives by providing a facility that will enable Gladys and her dedicated teachers to care for and teach each of these children that ‘disability is not inability’. Their aim is to help all the children achieve their full potential.