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AIC Mukeu School for the Mentally Challenged

Lari Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya


Posted:  01/24/2019      Updated:  02/15/2021  (Project Post for 2022)

Project Type:  Education

Project Name and General Description of Project:  
Mukeu Special Education Project is a government boarding school partly sponsored by the AIC Mukeu Church. (AIC = African Inland Church) The school started in 2007 and was registered by the government as a special school in 2012. Currently the school has 50 learners, 5 trained special needs teachers and 4 support staff. The conditions of learners include autism, down’s syndrome, mild cerebral palsy, epilepsy, speech disorders, learning disorders and other mental challenges. The children are assessed and sent to the school by the local District Education office. The children’s ages range between 8 to 19 years old.

Facilities include classrooms, dormitories for boys and girls, kitchen, borehole, water tanks, playing field and school farm. The classes are divided into PP1 Rhinos, P1 Elephants, P2 Giraffes and P3 Lions based on their functional abilities and learning needs. Each class is handled by one teacher.

The children are taught basic activities of daily living (hygiene and grooming), literacy, numeracy and life skills including number work, communication, motor skills, art & craft, music, adapted physical education and pre-vocational skills. Vocational skills include beading, mat making, ventilation brick-making, crop and animal farming. They also help with school cleaning duties.

Contact Person/Project Director:  
Amy Eardensohn   
+254 792 383839

Chris Eardensohn 
+254 792 383840

Project directors: Headteacher Mr. Ngugi and Charity Muturi 

Specific Type of Work to Be Completed:  
·        Share and use your skills to enhance the learning process by working with the teachers in creating learning resources, training workshops, crafts, vocational skills, sports and recreation

·        Help with infrastructural and environmental improvements

·        Support the students on one and one or group basis during class sessions

·        Observe, learn and consult with the teachers to customise solutions for various school needs

·        Carry or locally purchase stationery, recreational and sports materials

·        During breaks engage in games and activities that the kids can adopt on evenings and weekends

·        Help the children and staff with daily chores including cooking, cleaning

·        The school will welcome you leading the children in prayer, teaching them Bible stories, scripture verses or Christian songs.  The children love music!

·        a. Work environment (geographic setting):  Rural area
b. People Group that volunteers will be working with: Kenyan children with intellectual and learning disabilities

Specific Dates:
All year except April, August and November/December, all of which are school holidays

Approx.  length of stay including travel time from the U.S. (or other country): 9 day minimum. Preferable time would be 2 weeks or more.   Any trip would need to include Monday-Friday in order to maximize time with students and teachers.  Volunteers could also serve on Saturday mornings and accompany the children to church on Sundays.

Volunteer/Team Requirements:
Specific skills needed and/or recommended including possible educational requirements and/or credentials if needed:  Special needs teachers or other teachers familiar with working with special needs children, psychologists, those with experience in sports and physical education.  We request that any team coming has as a minimum of 1-2 teachers skilled in working with special needs children.  However not all activities require special education/credentials, so other accompanying volunteers are also welcome to serve.    

Can college students serve in this project? Yes, accompanied by staff for groups over 5

Team Size (minimum/maximum; gender preference, if any): 1-20, both genders. Above 5 volunteers, we may suggest a project outside of the classroom, as teachers will only be able to handle a certain number of volunteers in the classroom at one time.  However all volunteers will have significant opportunities to interact with students in and out of the classroom!

Health considerations/requirements: Health insurance is essential, and should include medical repatriation. You can also consider a personal comprehensive travel insurance which includes medical expenses, air evacuation, repatriation, personal effects, cancellation and curtailment.

Ministry items to bring: Please communicate with the contact persons before making any large purchases as they can let you know what would be most beneficial to bring.  Durable learning aids for special needs children that do not require batteries or electricity are always welcome and difficult to find in Kenya.  If school supplies are needed many of these can be inexpensively purchased upon arrival in Kenya.  School paper (composition books) in particular is better to purchase in Kenya as it is different from what is used in the US.   

Airport of Arrival: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi Kenya

Local Transportation: Local taxis, minivans

Probable lodging arrangements:  Brackenhurst Conference Center, Limuru

What, if any, additional items like sleeping bags, sheets, etc. needed:  None or will be informed once lodging is confirmed.

Expenses – On the Field:
Total Approximate cost   (included but not limited to the following):  
PLEASE NOTE:  These costs are as of 2019 and subject to change.

  1. Transportation: from and to airport, worksite and lodging location   This will greatly vary depending on the size of your group.  We will try to find the most economical options for you to consider.  For example, for a group of 5, transport from the airport in a van will be about US$40 (split 5 ways).   The cost to Mukeu from Brackenhurst would be slightly less and you would need to pay for drop off in the morning and pick up at the end of the day.
  2. Onsite expenses – food, lodging,  translators (if needed)  Accomodation at Brackenhurst conference center (Limuru) for Bed and Breakfast is $24/person in a dorm, $31/person in a quad room, $35 per person in a triple, $46/person in a double and $67/person single. Dinners at Brackenhurst average around US$10 at the Muna Tree Café.    We can also try to source other accommodation in the area if these prices do not fit your budget.
  3. Airport taxes/exit fees (Often only payable in USD)  None.  You will only have to pay US$50 for a single entry visa (gotten on line before arrival)
  4. Ministry items to purchase on the field – this will vary.

Volunteer Information:
Personal Items to bring: Toiletries, mosquito repellant, hat, electricity should be available at your volunteer accommodation.  Electricity here is 220 volt (USA is 110 volt).  Be sure that whatever electrical items that you bring can be used with 220 volt (ie phone charger, tablet, computer, hair dryer) You will need a plug adapter to go from US to a Kenyan/British plug (3 pin rectangular)

Cultural Considerations (including language): Swahili is the national language in Kenya and simple English is understood by most people. We would encourage you to learn the basic greetings before arrival. However, locals sometimes additionally speak in native dialect.

Other Special Consideration(s)
a.        Specific immunizations: Consultation with a personal physician before departing is advisable. Please find out the vaccination requirements for every country you will be visiting.  If you are coming directly to Kenya and then returning to the US (no other African countries visited) there are no required vaccinations;however, we recommend that you look at the CDC website to see what is recommended for Kenya.  It is your decision as to which vaccinations you will want to get.   An updated tetanus is always a good thing!   You will not be in a malarial area if you are only in Nairobi and at Mukeu, however if you travel to many other areas in Kenya (coast/games parks/etc) you will need malarial prophylaxis.  It is advisable to drink bottled or filtered water during your stay. Please travel with copies of your vaccination certificates.

b.       Visa needs/requirements: You must have a passport valid for at least six months after your arrival date in Kenya. It is advisable to bring a photocopy of your passport in case you lose the original.  We recommend that you get a visa at least 2 weeks before arrival at the following website.  The cost will be $50 per adult single entry ($100 multiple entry).   

c.        Specific security concerns (STS) : Keep valuables including money, cameras, laptops, tablets, phones and passports in a safe provided at your accommodation. Carry only as much money as you need at a time. Stay within the volunteer group during trips, be accompanied by local staff at all times while on and off project.

d.       Information for landing cards/entry forms:  Once accommodation is confirmed we will send this to you.  You will be coming as a tourist.

e.        Climate: The hot season generally begins in September and temperatures begin to rise until January and then cool off again. The “long rains” are generally from March to May and “short rains” fall mostly in October to November. Limuru being just south of the equator can have very strong mid-day sun that can easily burn, Factor 30 sun cream is recommended. However, based in the highland tea plantation areas, there are surprisingly large drops in temperature at night, with temperatures possibly dropping to 10C / 50Fahrenheit. Most nights and early mornings are chilly and sometimes during the day. Please pack a few warm clothes.

f.         Clothing recommendation(s)/suggestions: It is culturally modest / appropriate to cover your shoulders, cleavage and knees with loose comfortable clothing. Suggestions are loose fitting tops, t-shirts, trousers, long shorts, long skirts/dresses that are not see through. Dress comfortably enough to engage in practical tasks outdoor with children and some warm clothes for the evenings. Carry comfortable shoes that you can handle dust, mud and paint; and sandals for early evenings.  Women: If you plan on attending church on Sunday, bring a long skirt/dress.

g.       Cash, travelers checks, credit cards/ATM’s: You can exchange US dollars into the local Kenya Shilling currency at local banks. You can also withdraw money with a debit card from ATMs  which is generally the easiest way to get cash.  Please notify your bank that you are traveling to Kenya so that you will not experience any difficulties at the ATM.    If you bring cash bring only the “new” US bills.  The older ones will not be accepted.

h.       Communication/email availability (or lack thereof):   If your cell phone is not locked, the cheapest way to go is to purchase a Kenyan cell-phone company SIM card to use in your cell phone for the duration of your stay.  You can call the US for about 2 cents a minute and also get a data package.  You should also have wifi available where you are staying/sleeping.    Prepare for speeds to be significantly slower than the US.

 i.   Emergency contact info:
Chris Eardensohn, , Send Relief Kenya,
+254 792 383840  (or)
Amy Eardensohn  
+254 792 383839   

j.        Other:  The school is always looking at ways to improve its sustainability as many students cannot afford school fees. Funding from the government and local church is not enough to cover all their costs. If you would be interested in exploring ways you can contribute to income generating projects to help the school meet running costs,  let the project directors know beforehand and they can give you more information.