Jamii is a Swahili word that means family or community and symbolizes unity. We recognize the need for the community to work together as a Christian family for the welfare of the people living with mental disability in Kenya.
People with mental disabilities are still stigmatized in Kenya, especially in communities or families living in poverty or unemployment. People with disabilities are often discriminated against, seen as inferior to others in society, isolated, perceived as bad omens, and sometimes even killed. Furthermore, they are, in some cases, denied basic rights, such as education, which are granted to the rest of the population. These circumstances are among the most important factors that compelled us to establish our organization.
Jamii Community Village Seme will be a place for people with mental disabilities to begin rehabilitation, re-discover their potential and capabilities, and regain hope for their lives and futures. After having thoroughly done our research and gained experience from working with different kinds of people living with disabilities, we have dedicated ourselves to share our experience with the community of Seme and Kenya at large under the slogan: Join hands for a better life.
Several of our founding members have grown up with strong Christian backgrounds and have worked closely with people living with disabilities. Because of our experiences, we strongly believe in the potential of people with disabilities and, that, if given a chance, they can prove to the world that disability is not inability.
Jamii Community Village Seme will be a long-term, live-in rehabilitation center that will provide care, counseling and education for people living with disabilities, based on Christian and Anthroposophical values and methods. Our goal is to ultimately become a Camphill Community. The organization’s staff will be qualified, experienced and committed people of integrity. The main purpose of this center will be to provide for those people living with disabilities who would otherwise suffer under the care of their families, whether it be due to shame associated with having a person with disability in the family, poverty, lack of knowledge or resources required to care for people with disabilities or some other reason.
Jamii Community Village Seme will be run by founders Joab Omondi Ochoro (Heilerziehungspfleger/Curative education therapist: projected graduation 2015), Alfred Otieno (Law student: projected graduation 2015), Edmund Kariuki (Fitness Trainer), and Elizabeth Mealey (Anthropology and Film Studies student, projected graduation 2015). (For a full list of our members, see “Our Members” on page 6.)
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Martin Luther King had a dream and so do we. Our greatest vision is to establish a community for mentally disabled people in Kenya by the end of 2015, and then to found a training center for those who will have gained interest in our work.
Our Goals for Jamii Community Village Seme are as follows:
· To give a new life to people who have lost hope in life due to their disabilities, not only by providing for their basic needs, but also by assisting them where possible in living their lives with a greater measure of independence.
· To approach our work with the view that people living with disabilities should be assessed not only on the basis of their disabilities but also on their abilities.
· To approach our work with an emphasis on an “anthroposophical” way of life (according to Rudolf Steiner).
· To provide a strong foundation in Christianity, and to make all of our members feel part of the community.
· To share our ideas on how to take care of people living with disability with the immediate community and Kenya at large.
· To bring people from all different regions of Kenya together by uniting them in a common purpose.
· To establish and maintain national and international relations, i.e., hosting volunteers both from Kenya and the world at large.
ACHIEVING OUR GOALS
We will achieve our goals for Jamii Community Village Seme by putting our main focus on the following:
For our Residents (People in need of support for their disabilities)
· Creating workshops which, in addition to providing stimulation and purpose for the people with disabilities, will also contribute to our self-sustainability (more information under “Finances,” page 4).
· Providing training workshops for the people living with disabilities in various skill sets, such as body positioning and communication.
· Supplying activities and materials, such as toys and activity boards, to provide a stimulating environment.
· Activating cognitive stimulation by encouraging problem solving and logical thinking.
· Providing therapeutic stretches and exercise, Curative Massage, and physiotherapy services.
· Facilitating access to artificial limbs, crutches, and other physical aids for the physically disabled.
· Identifying and referring extreme cases to orthopedic specialists.
For our Employees
· Providing technical assistance for the caretakers in order to enhance their ability to improve the functionality of each person with disability, and allow them to work towards more independence.
· Providing a counseling and training center for the caretakers who don’t have previous experience with working with people with disabilities.
For the Parents of our Residents
· Providing a free counseling service for parents with the aim of bringing them together to share their experiences and find strength in each other, and to provide hope for their children’s conditions.
For all Interested Parties
· Creating a website in order to share information about our programs, plans, progress and ideas.
· Training Workshops for the community with the aim of educating them on the topics of living with and caring for people with disabilities.
· Programs, such as training workshops, theater, and sport aimed to involve the surrounding community.
· Programs similar to mobile clinics where the physiotherapist and the counselor team will visit the homes of people with disabilities who are not residents of Jamii Community Village Seme .
National and International Relations
· Working closely with all individuals, communities and organizations who are interested in engaging with our goal to “Join hands for a better life.”
· Working together with the community, the government and non-governmental organizations to find all resources available for people with mental disabilities.
· Inviting volunteers from Kenya and the world to come work at our organization.
· Establishing the key relations and keeping close contact with medical professionals, both within and without of Kenya.
· Additionally focusing on “Anthroposophical” medicine and lifestyle, by establishing and maintaining close contact with other Anthroposophical organizations.
· Relevant agencies will be invited to study and evaluate our managerial style and the the organization as a whole. They will be encouraged to give constructive feedback to the management in order to help the organization improve and ultimately achieve better results.
Funding and Self-sustainability
We intend to have several activities and workshops which, in addition to providing stimulation and purpose for the people with disabilities, will also contribute to our self-sustainability. Among the suggested activities will be handcrafts such as woodwork, candle-making, shoe repair, and tailoring. These goods and services will directly benefit the inhabitants of Jamii Community Village Seme, and could also be sold to the surrounding community in order to offset costs.
Furthermore, a major focus will be on farming, which will be divided into three categories:
· Land cultivation: Maize, Rice, and Vegetables among other products.
· Animal husbandry: Cows (for milk and meat), Sheep, and others.
· Poultry Keeping: Broilers and Layers.
The majority of our produce will be used to feed the inhabitants of Jamii Community Village Seme, and a small portion of our production will be marketed to the surrounding community.
We also plan to secure additional funding from the Kenyan government and through fundraising from well-wishers. We additionally intend to organize for in-kind donations of furniture, equipment and other useful materials.
There will be yearly financial reports and appraisals to check and control how funds are being used. These will be available to the donors and the board.