Tuesday, 28 January, 2020
Three-year-old Bravin claps along to the music and begins to laugh, and as he does, his mother, Naomi, begins to laugh too, bringing him closer to hug. As the two of them embrace, it’s difficult to believe the devastating impact Bravin’s birth initially had on the family.
Bravin was born blind with complex needs. In parts of Kenya, a culture of stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities has led to pressure on families to give up their children to orphanages.
Naomi was adamant that she wouldn’t leave her son, and as a result, Bravin’s father abandoned them. Very soon, Naomi’s friends also distanced themselves from the family.
Isolated, emotionally overwhelmed, and realising that she couldn’t raise the money for Bravin’s therapy, Naomi spiralled into depression.
Fortunately, Naomi found the support she needed when a nurse introduced her to the Sense International Kenya team at her local health clinic.
Naomi says: “Meeting the Sense International Kenya team was a game-changer for me. The therapist at the clinic counselled me out of depression and helped me accept my son for the way he is”.
A support group which Naomi continues to attend, provides an environment for Naomi to meet with other mothers and share their experiences of raising their children.
For two and a half years, Bravin has benefitted from therapy, learning to explore his surroundings, and communicate with his mother. The family are also visited by a Sense International Kenya trained occupational therapist, who is supporting Bravin to learn how to walk without support.
Naomi says: “I could not have afforded his therapy or this support. If it were not for Sense International Kenya, Bravin would not be what he is today.”
With Bravin due to start speech therapy and education, the future looks bright for the family. But Bravin is one of the lucky ones, who received his chance to shine.
In Kenya, children with deafblindness rarely get the support they need. Many will lead short, lonely, lives, hidden away by parents who may not know how to support them, and who are fearful of the reaction of the local community. Without support, these children will face a lifetime of isolation, struggling with mobility and communication, unable to form the most basic connections with those around them.
You can help give children like Bravin a ‘Chance to Shine’ by donating to our appeal now. Donations made between 1 January and 31 March will be matched pound for pound by the UK government, doubling the impact of your support for some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.
First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 20 September 2017