Ekisa’s doors opened in February of 2011. Since then, we have become “home” to thirty-three vulnerable children living with special needs. Our goal is to show these children the love and acceptance they deserve. While we love these children to the best of our ability while they are in our care, our heart’s desire is for each of these children to have a family. Our Social Work Team works hard to engage and encourage the church and community to come alongside us in caring for these treasured children.
What sets Ekisa apart from other orphanages is we fully believe that an institution is no place for a child to grow up. As much as we love and cherish each child in our care, we fully recognize we constantly fall short of the love a family can provide. Our Social Work Team diligently works on exit plans for each child, so they may know the unconditional love of a family.
Our heart at Ekisa is to see children with special needs celebrated in their own families and communities. When parents come to our gate, we do our best to empower and encourage them to care for their child. Our Community Care Outreach (CCO) Program seeks to come alongside families within our community who have children living with special needs.
We offer a wide range of Core Services to accomplish this.
- Counseling: Our Social Worker Team provides counseling and emotional support to all families in our CCO Program. Parenting a child with special needs is a challenging, yet rewarding, responsibility. Many of our families face rejection and stigmatization from their own families and communities. Many of the parents and families in our program love their children dearly and simply need respite, some assistance from family, words of advice, or words of encouragement.
- Physical Therapy: Each Monday, we open up our facilities to our community families to come and receive free physical therapy for their children. Every Tuesday, in partnership with Soft Power Education, we have two drop in clinics in the community where parents who do not live nearby Ekisa can access this service. This is also a time for parents to share their struggles and triumphs with one another, while building intentional community.
- Medical Care: We provide medical assistance to families by cost-sharing when unexpected appointments, surgeries, or substantial bills arise. Along with cost-sharing for significant medical bills, our nursing staff and social workers assist in assessments, referrals, transportation to appointments, and overseeing follow-up or ensuring families attend their appointments and receive applicable treatment.
- Epilepsy Care: Every Monday Nalufenya Hospital provides free epilepsy clinics, where families can receive consultations and medication for their child’s specific epilepsy and needs. The nursing staff ensures that families understands and receives proper dosages, attends their appointments, and Ekisa steps in to provide cost assistance when families are unable to afford higher priced epilepsy medication.
- Business Class: We hold business classes for mothers or fathers to learn basic business skills in order to start a business or to increase the profitability of their current business. Upon completion of the course and approval of their business proposal, business class graduates receive an interest-free loan as start-up capital, and are required to begin repayment after 6 months of receiving the loan. The business class allows the families to start a business where they can continue to earn an income, and therefore, are able to provide better care for their child; for example, having the ability to pay for basic medications.
In 2014, we were able to welcome 46 new clients to our Community Care Outreach Program, and as of June 2015 our wait list to join CCO was well over 60.
At Ekisa Academy, we strive to empower children living with special needs to reach their highest potential through providing quality, specialized education.
Ekisa Children’s Home launched their internal school program at the end of 2012, and it was a huge success. Many milestones have been met by the children and progress continues to be made on a daily basis.
Since the start of Ekisa’s Community Care Program, it has become very clear that many families face immense challenges in finding a suitable schooling for their child. Most schools do not have the resources and staff available to give the proper attention and care to children living with special needs. Schools that do provide these services are not typically an option due to proximity and expense.
Our desire is to provide families with access to a specialized school program that can meet the individual needs of their child. Ekisa Academy offers the services such as physical therapy, multi-sensory room therapy, daily life skills, and lesson plans that teach each child at their skill level covering a multitude of subjects including phonics, math, reading, writing, fine and gross motor skills, music and physical education.
It is our hope that Ekisa Academy will not only benefit the individual lives of each child that attends; but will continue to improve the mindset of those within the community in regards to the negative stigma tied to special needs.