As most of you will know, my two housemates, Eileen and Carol, run a school for children with special needs in the basement of our house. It's much nicer than it sounds, it doesn't look like a basement or anything. They've done an amazing job at decorating it and setting it up to be a great place for kids to come to learn. Here's a photo to prove it:
That's Eileen in the distance with one of the kids in the red chair next to her. Among Carol and Eileen's many talents is the creation of small things to sit on made out of cardboard, newspaper, flour and water - i.e. paper maiche. They are amazing!
There are six kids who come to the school although not all on the same days. The school runs from 9:15 to 11:45, Monday to Thursday, and on Friday some older children from the special needs class at a local school come for the morning. The needs of the six younger kids range quite widely. Some have autism, some have epilepsy, one has severe cerebal palsy. Their ability to engage with what's going on around them also varies, and none of them are able communicate through speech.
Eileen set the school up last May having been here for a few years doing house visits with the children and developing relationships with them and their parents. Carol arrived in August and was supposed to go home in December but she loved it so much she had to come back. Both Eileen and Carol will be leaving for good by May so the future of the school is uncertain. If you are a pray-er, please pray that the right provision would become available. This ministry is quite unique out here and there isn't anything that these children can go on to automatically. But there is hope that God knows what is best and will provide for his special children.
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what goes on. To the untrained eye (mine) it doesn't always look like these activities are teaching the children anything. But it turns out that Eileen and Carol haven't just been trained in colouring and singing - they are pros and every little detail of what they do with these kids enhances their ability to engage in the world around them and be part of something that they would otherwise be shut out of. I just think they're amazing!