Three-year-old Sospeter Karanja plays with his mother, Tabby Wangacha, in their house in Waithaka, Nairobi.
Global deafblind charity, Sense International, is launching a new campaign to transform the lives of children with deafblindness in rural Kenya, with all donations made during the appeal to be doubled by the UK government thanks to UK Aid Match. The charity is calling on the British public to support the appeal and give children with deafblindness in Kenya their ‘Chance to Shine’.

The ‘Chance to Shine’ appeal will run from 1 January to 31 March 2020 and match funding from the UK government will provide vital support to children with deafblindness in rural Kenya and public donations will go towards Sense International’s work around the world. Through the appeal, the charity will establish sight and hearing tests for children in the rural counties of Kwale and Garissa, provide vital support to those identified with deafblindness, and advocate with local government decision-makers to invest in testing and support for children with sight and hearing impairments.

The appeal is an extension of the charity’s 2015 UK Aid Match ‘Finding Grace’ appeal which successfully trialled the programme in Nairobi, Kenya. The ‘Chance to Shine’ appeal will build on the previous project and will test 55,000 children for sight and hearing impairments in 40 health facilities; build four specialists Early Intervention Units to provide one-on-one support, and train hundreds of volunteers to conduct sight and hearing tests and deliver support in their local communities.

Alison Marshall, Director of Sense International, said:

“In Kenya, children with deafblindness rarely get the help they need. Without support, the children face a lifetime of loneliness, struggling with mobility and communication, and unable to form connections with those around them. Working with local partners, we are helping to change that. By supporting the ‘Chance to Shine’ appeal, you can ensure that children with deafblindness in Kenya receive vital all-round support so they can learn and thrive.”

Sospeter’s Story

The appeal will change the lives of children like Sospeter, who was born deaf and with complex needs. The diagnosis left his parents desperate for answers and feeling alone, with no-one to help.

“We were heartbroken after learning that our baby was deaf and could not develop at the pace of other children. You are so desperate for answers, yet nobody has them, and it feels like the majority of people do not care,” says his mother, Tabby.

“Meeting the team at Sense International Kenya was the turning point for the family,” Tabby says. “They gave us new hope and purpose for our baby.”

Through Sense International Kenya, Sospeter’s parents were introduced to other families in a similar situation and discovered that, with the right support, their son could enjoy a fulfilling life.

Therapy has helped Sospeter to walk independently, feed himself, and communicate with his mother. Now, at nearly four years old, Sospeter continues to thrive and his future looks bright.

For more information about the ‘Chance to Shine’ appeal, visit: www.senseinternational.org.uk/Chance-To-Shine