One of the primary ways that your giving impacts the lives of the approximately 150 children and families we serve in our Community Care Centers and Resource Center is through our local staff members. In this blog post, I am pleased to introduce you to Janepher, one of our faithful teachers who has served in Special Hope’s ministry for the past 2 years.
Holly Nelson first met Janepher in a local clinic where Janepher’s son, Brighton, was attending physio. Brighton had been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and due to limited medical resources in Lusaka for children with such a diagnosis, Janepher was struggling to care for her severely malnourished child. The Nelson family assisted Janepher to develop a personalized feeding plan to help Brighton gain weight, and by the grace of God, Brighton is thriving 6 years later. He is in school, learning to read and do basic math, and, the most amazing news of all, he never had Cerebral Palsy. It was a misdiagnosis, and one that was probably the cause of his not receiving adequate care early in his life.
The Nelson family stayed in touch with Janepher over the years, and Janepher used to call every 3-4 months asking if Special Hope had a job. When Special Hope needed more local staff members 2 years ago, Janepher was invited for an interview and was eventually hired as a teacher. Our team was thrilled when Janepher became one of the quickest learners Special Hope has ever had, and in her two years as a staff member, she has flourished. Janepher works in our Community Care Centers and our Resource center with children who have all types of intellectual disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, general intellectual delay, and Cerebral Palsy. She is a wonderful, firm and loving teacher to the children at our Centers, and she has a no-nonsense way of speaking with mothers who need to be reminded of what their child needs.
Special Hope’s certified Special Education teachers trained Janepher and our other local staff members in educational techniques commonly used in special education classrooms throughout the United States, including: lesson planning, adaptive physical education for motor skills, group circle time leading, sign language, visual schedules, and other specialized skills. This specialized training allows Janepher and our other local staff to have unique opportunities to develop professionally while also participating in the transformation of the children and families we serve.
Janepher recently wrote a heartfelt letter to our team in which she expressed her gratitude to Special Hope for hiring her as a teacher, as her employment means that her kids are able to go to school now and her family is able to pay their bills. Janepher is thankful for Special Hope’s impact on her life and her family, and we are thankful for the impact she has made on our staff and our students and the families we serve.
To our faithful donors: thank you for partnering with us to transform not only the lives of the children and families we are called to serve, but also our faithful staff who work hard every day to make that transformation a reality.