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The Province of West Flanders supports our partner Bethany Kids in Kenya.

This €10,500 grant will allow our partner to educate medical staff, parents and other carers of children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus about the lifelong (after)care of children with these conditions.

The Bethany Kids team sent us the gripping report of their home visit to Patrick Njoroge in Dandora, close to the capital Nairobi.

Home visit to Patrick Njoroge in Dandora, Kenya

On 22 January 2024, the team (consisting of Geoffrey Musyoka, Joseph, Francisca, Carol and Mama Leone) visited Patrick Njoroge (16) who was born with Spina Bifida and lives with his parents in Dandora.

‘On arrival, we were greeted by a foul smell from the sewage river that lies just a few metres from their house. The bridge to his house consists of old tree trunks. It took us a lot of effort to cross the bridge and Joseph had to support Francisca. From this it was already clear that there is a big problem, as Patrick is a wheelchair user and the bridge is not disability-friendly. We also found out that Patrick uses a bucket as a toilet because he cannot use the old toilet outside the house, which is not accessible to him. We advised the mother to buy a plastic chair and make a hole for him.

We also noted that Patrick left his wheelchair in Joytown. He sits in the seat all the time and his mother has to support him when he needs to move from one place to another. The environment outside is not wheelchair-friendly at all and perhaps that is why Patrick left his wheelchair in Joytown.

Patrick has a sister (Elizabeth) aged 13. She finished class 8 last year with 270 marks and has not yet gone to first grade because she has no school fees. Their father, who has casual jobs on construction sites, is the sole breadwinner, but the relationship between their father and mother has been difficult for a long time. They lived separately and the father did not care for them until recently, when the mother became very ill (and still looks very ill) and was unable to do her casual jobs.

Patrick, 16, completed class 8 last year with 216 out of 500 marks and was due to go to first class at Joytown last week. These were good marks for him because he had to miss many classes for almost two years due to being sick. The boy has not yet gone to high school because he does not yet have school fees and money for a school uniform for the first class.

Patrick’s mother, who has also been ill for some time, has begged her uncles in vain to support the boy. Her parents, who are from Muranga Kangema and old, do precarious jobs and are also unable to support him. Her mother has applied for a school scholarship (Ksh.5000 – about 33 euros) but is not sure when the money will be available.

We encouraged her not to give up; we believe a door will open for this boy to go to secondary school. We also decided as a team to help Patrick and while waiting for a kidney ultrasound, we agreed that the mother would take Patrick to Kijabe hospital on Wednesday for check-up. Patrick’s mum has no money for her trip to Kijabe but we decided to help her in this regard. Mama Leon bought maize flour, rice, sugar and ndengu) for the family.

The team will also ask BethanyKids to support Patrick with the payment of school fees. This may decrease from semester to semester as his mother also works around the clock to find more support from various organisations.

A smile appears on Patrick’s mum’s face. She is very grateful to us and says she again has some more hope for a better future for Patrick.