Homebound children are those who are unable to access education at the Special Unit. This may be because they are immobile and have no way of travelling to the unit, they may not be toilet trained and therefore not able to attend, or they may require access and assistance which the unit cannot provide. Homebound children can have a very miserable existence, they are often left for large parts of the day whilst others leave them to find work. Some of these children possess no clothes and are frequently hidden in the family homestead. Special Unit teachers have an outreach responsibility to identify these children in the villages and to support them when possible. FKK currently provides approx. 20,000 ksh a month to supply enriched porridge to 25 of these children via the unit teachers. Teachers have noted a significant improvement in the way the children are cared for as a result of this food parcel. The teacher advises a family that if the child is not cared for the food support will stop, suddenly the child has value, and it is treated better. This may seem sad, but practically it achieves the objective of ensuring the child is better cared for. There are many more homebound children who would benefit from this program but it is currently limited due to FKK’s limited resources.
The Special Unit teacher at Muccune comments,
‘We’ve told the mothers if the child is not cared for the support will be withdrawn. The clothing has improved, there is a general health improvement. Some are not as emaciated as they were when they started the program. They are physically stronger. The other mothers not receiving support are improving their care so they can be added to the list. Where previously parents were keeping the child a secret now they are bringing out their children so they can be considered for support. The family support groups are growing daily. In Muccune active members are over 33 and they have been mobilised to look for support in other places. They are pursuing a govt organisation to help them with a farming project.’