Our latest in the Alumni Annals series features a child named Vivian. The report was prepared by Toa tutor Nell Lyatuu who has worked with us since 2016, most often at Mnazi Primary School where we don’t even have a classroom but have been using a safari tent instead. Nell is a kind and dedicated tutor who always looks to go the extra mile; under her direction, that tent was a lot nicer than many primary school classrooms in Kilimanjaro!
PS: Forgive the quality of the photos!!
“At Mnazi Primary School in 2017, there was a student called Vivian. Madam Hawa Sandali, a government teacher, said that when Vivian started Standard One, she had challenges in talking. She didn’t know to pronounce words well, was discharging saliva all the time and laughing inappropriately, and didn’t like to learn. Madam Hawa helped Toa Nafasi tutors gain permission to work with Vivian and to take her to clinical visits. She also showed much support in making follow-ups to know how Vivian was doing after joining The Toa Nafasi Project.
Vivian’s mother said that before she started school, she had strange behaviors. When she was given a book, she would tear it; she didn’t like to write at all; her fellows were neglecting her and didn’t like to play with her; and, she had chronic skin infections.
Toa Nafasi helped Mama Vivian to understand these problems her child was facing and told her how we would support her to overcome these challenges. Her mother showed much support and cooperated well with Toa Nafasi in helping Vivian to recover.
Through observation and assessment, Toa Nafasi noticed that Vivian didn’t know how to read and write at all and she didn’t know how to speak well either. She could not settle in the classroom and her fellows were isolating her. On top of that, there were the physical problems of the saliva and the skin. We saw that when she was given activities to write she was tearing the exercise books and not writing anything.
Later on, she was taken to KCMC Hospital for skin treatment and after she was treated, the infection cleared up and the skin became normal. Toa tutors at Mnazi used picture books in teaching her and she was becoming happy and enjoying looking at pictures. After that, Vivian was taken to The Gabriella Rehabilitation Centre for special education lessons and boarding.
At Gabriella, they did another assessment and intervention and looked at Vivian’s limited communication skills – she’s still unable to articulate words well – and limited academic ability. They confirmed that she doesn’t sit still in class, doesn’t like writing when given a pencil, has hyperactivity and limited skills on self-care such as bathing, feeding (difficulty in chewing), and drooling.
After staying at Gabriella for some time, Vivian has improved her attention and concentration, self-care skills like bathing and washing clothes, and ability to express herself verbally. She also now plays with friends. In January 2021, Vivian will rejoin the public primary school Korongoni which has a special education needs unit where she can test the skills she learned at Gabriella in an inclusive setting. The great thing is that Korongoni is also a school where Toa tutors are stationed so Vivian will have much support when she re-enters the ‘real world.’”