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Magdaline's story

Seven-year-old Magdaline, Maggy to her family, was born deafblind after her mother, Pamela contracted rubella during pregnancy. She lives in the Kangemi slums in Kenya, with her parents and two brothers.

Magdaline's parents are casual labourers, earning around £1 a day when they are able to find work. Despite the love and care of her parents, Maggy was isolated, frail and underweight when Sense International found her at the age of two.

At that age Maggy was unable to walk, feed herself or able to communicate with her family. She often and repeatedly banged her head whenever she was agitated.

Magdaline smiling

Today Maggy attends the deafblind unit of Sense International-supported Kilimani School five days a week where she stays in the school dormitory. In addition, a trained teacher from a nearby mainstream school visits Maggy at her home. The teacher also educates the family on the best ways to help and support Maggy.

Maggy can now walk and feed herself independently and is learning to communicate with her family and other children at school. She loves exploring their faces and does not isolate herself from people the way she used to.

Her mother Pamela is delighted with the progress Maggy has made. She says:

"Magdaline was extremely thin at birth. At the time when children are expected to crawl and walk, she could not walk, she just continued sitting, sleeping and crying.

Magdaline harvesting lettuces with her teacher

“Since she started going to Kilimani, she has had positive change. She wasn’t able to walk, eat or sit when she started, but now she can eat food by herself, she can walk, she can do all things that other children are able to do.

“If you told me that my Maggy would learn, I would not believe you! That she now goes to Kilimani and gets home-based education is a miracle.”

First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 20 September 2017