Ol’Kalou is an assistance and rehabilitation centre in Kenya helping the most unfortunate children
For almost 20 years, Rifra has supported the Ol’Kalou project by donating the budget for Christmas gifts to its customers, to help the work of the Sisters of the Piccole Figlie di S. Giuseppe Congregation who, with great attention and sensitivity, oversee the activities of the Centre, aimed at making disabled children as self-sufficient as possible, taking care of both the medical-rehabilitative aspects (through surgery, physiotherapy, prostheses, the application of corrective plasters, orthopaedic braces, and so on) and schooling to facilitate the children’s inclusion in public schools, with a view to integration into the world of work.
After many years of cooperation, there are still a myriad of operations to be done to create acceptable reception conditions and guarantee qualified assistance.
The children’s smiles are the best validation that our decision, made years ago, to participate in this important project was wise and beneficial.
Pictures of the Ol’Kalou Centre can be viewed by visiting the site.
For more information:
Piccole Figlie di San Giuseppe
Via don Giuseppe Baldo, 7
Tel. 045 8348608
Centro Missionario Diocesano
Via Vescovado, 23
Tel. 049 8771761
We at Ol’Kalou too have suffered the consequences of the pandemic: never as in this period has all aid been and is needed.
We were able to keep only 60 children to continue post-operative physiotherapy.
The restrictions have upset our programs and the long list of surgical operands for January 2021 is still pending because orthopedists, due to the need for quarantine, cannot come.
Most of the mission personnel had to stay at home; only a few, paid by the day, carried out all the extra work that had to be done such as cutting the plants ready to make wood, refresh the color of the dormitories, make repairs in the center where necessary etc.
Many thanks to all.
The Ol’Kalou DCH Rehabilitation Centre organised an Open Day to raise subsidies and public awareness regarding the care for this large intercultural and multi-ethnic family that assists many children who unfortunately have various kinds of motor issues.
The centre welcomed another 70 children to the new secondary school, having been planned and realised with donations from “8 Per Mille” (or, “8 Per Thousand”, where taxpayers choose the recipient of a compulsory donation as part of filing their taxes each year) by the Episcopal Conference of Italy precisely to favour those needing orthopaedic assistance during secondary school.
Volunteer doctors have drawn up a list of the various orthopaedic operations, given that over 120 children have mobility issues and need buildings without barriers.
The smile of the children at the Ol’Kalou Re-education Centre is gratification for the team of doctors, therapists, orthopaedic technicians and various assistants who work alongside the nuns from the Piccole Figlie di San Giuseppe – even on a voluntary basis – to manage the procedures for the children and their scholastic education.
Even if the Centre is not able to sustain itself financially with the limited proceeds from the activities that have been developed over time (such as physiotherapy, the orthopaedic workshop service for adults in need of treatment or the sale of garden products, cow milk and other goods), people work as one big family in which everyone can contribute to ensure that the children’s smiles never fade.
Thanks to the support and solidarity, we were able to have in attendance around 220 school-age children with mobility issues, of whom 110 have undergone surgery.
The post-operative period was successful and the patients had the pleasure of attending the primary school annexed to the Home.
The special class of 25 children with multiple issues, including mental retardation, was supervised by teachers who are passionately dedicated to their profession.
For us at Ol’Kalou Disabled Children’s Home, all children are special: it is important to continue encouraging them so that they may live in peace, helping each other with a sense of fraternity.
Together we can celebrate the results obtained by Ol’Kalou in 2015, thanks to the dedication of the sisters who for years have been taking care of disabled children.
This year once again, with the help of the orthopaedic doctors of the GOA (Genova Of Africa), the sisters managed to organise successful operations for 107 children.
The support and effective assistance of the Rehabilitation Centre enabled 65 children to be sent home with the best possible results, to the great joy of their families.
The sisters, thanks in part to continued support from Rifra, will be able to buy new plaster cast and cotton wool for future operations, resin and essential materials for the orthopaedic laboratory, uniforms and bed linen, as well as stocks of food and stationery for the children.
It is good news that, this year too, the children of Ol’Kalou were able to study and they were in no hurry to return home after the middle school exams; indeed, they asked to stay on to help other companions who hadn’t yet completed their exams.
Together, we can give our support and, like us at Rifra, find renewed energy in the smiles of the children of Ol’Kalou.
Rifra continues to support nuns and missionaries of Ol’Kalou who help around 200 children suffering from deformities that they themselves certainly did not cause, so as not to deprive them of a bright future.
The health budget is very positive: 106 children have been operated by the volunteers of GOA (Genova Ortopedia per l’Africa , or Genoa Orthopaedics for Africa).
Sixty have been discharged and just attend occasional scheduled check-ups.
The school project is going ahead with the building of the secondary school and installation of solar panels.
And we continue to commit ourselves and feel part of an extended family where we help one another and the weakest is loved the most and made to feel important.
Our commitment to the disabled children of Ol’Kalou continues.
The health care budget for the year included the following:
- 102 patients were operated on by volunteer Italian doctors at the Gaslini hospital with a total of 176 operations
- The communication network was made more effective, thanks to which the exchange of plates and X-rays with doctors for post-operative guidelines has been made more effective
In 2014, 132 new operations are planned in addition to the rehabilitation of limb impairments.
Again for the new year, the commitment of nuns and missionaries will include:
- the search for and acquisition of lighter and more solid orthopaedic material to replace the iron bars for braces and shoe lifts
- completion of the covered walkway from the school to the hall
- construction of the multi-purpose room
- construction of the secondary school
- repairs throughout, starting with a zero grazing programme for the cows, the cultivation of new plants and fish farming.
Providing food, hot water and welcoming environments is the principle commitment of those who have the smile of these children in their hearts.
RIFRA’s philosophy is the ongoing priority and care to maintain the faith and respect a commitment undertaken for many years.
As well as normal daily expenses, constantly on the increase, OL’KALOU is carrying forward the onerous project in setting up a multi-purpose room at the service of the current primary school (350 pupils), and the secondary school still to be built.
Each new project is possible thanks to the nuns, doctors, personnel across all levels, volunteers and supporters such as Rifra, now committed for over 10 years in contributing to the achievement of new important objectives aimed at improving the quality of living for the young guests at the OL’KALOU DISABLED CHILDREN’S HOME.
The health care balance for the young disabled over the year was:
- 92 children admitted, some in the short term, some long term
- 131 children on the waiting list for operations
- 170 operations on 102 children
- 85 discharged and rehabilitated
- 500 external patient examinations including physiotherapy and orthopaedics, with the same number of prostheses fitted
As regards education, 31 children passed the middle school leaving examination, and the children of the OL’KALOU were the top of their area.
After completing construction of the two school rooms and many other interventions, the attention now returns to the recovery and rehabilitation of physically handicapped children due to illness or mutilation.
The male to female ratio is one third larger, with the relative problems of allocating beds.
The health care balance for the young disabled over the year was:
- 124 children on the waiting list for operations
- admission of 75 new children
- discharge of 68 children
The hospital of North Kinangop has offered their collaboration and support in the event of urgent cases, while the team of Italian orthopaedic surgeons ensure systematic support for operations.
Inflation reached 30% thereby increasing costs even by 50% while salaries remained unchanged… with logically disastrous consequences.
The knowledge, despite the crisis (or perhaps due to the crisis itself), that our contribution now for nine years to this organisation has enabled not only the upkeep of faith in their daily work, but also to set up new means to improve the life of these children, is an enormous source of satisfaction for all of us at Rifra.
In fact OL’KALOU, as well as the daily emergencies, such as the need for medicine, technical support in the health structures, clothing for the children, and training of nursing staff, has also been able to complete the works for rebuilding two new rooms to enable the young patients to attend school lessons and continue their education.
The great value of this project means that in keeping up their education, the children’s hope in the future can be kept alive, creating realistic opportunities for improving their quality of life and representing a major step forward in providing the children with a full and complete future.
As well as the set-up of two school rooms, this year too saw 90 young patients undergo orthopaedic surgery, carried out thanks to the free and voluntary services of doctors from the hospital Gaslini. These children are already enjoying the benefits of these operations and, in some cases, are returning to their normal life.
Some of the funds received by OL’KALOU DISABLED CHILDREN’S HOME were allocated specifically to cover the cost of these operations, as the outgoings of an operating theatre are always high.
Beyond what may seem simple rhetoric, Augusto Rampa feels both proud and satisfied, as are all his relatives, employees and partners, to help in the progress of the OL’KALOU Centre and the work it carries forward, thanks also to the contribution, even if more is needed, by Rifra in implementing projects in support of the disabled children welcomed into this community.
2009 was a year with an emergency, where a wall collapsed in the water collection tank, interrupting operation of utilities nearby the school.
This significant problem was solved thanks to the extra and fortunate contribution of Rifra, to enable the installation of a new collection tank, to save water, so precious for the entire community.
And despite the ongoing tribal feuds, the orthopaedic surgeons of OL’KALOU were able to operate on 89 patients, who were then admitted to the rehabilitation centre.
Despite the advent of a new year, which we know will be particularly critical for businesses and the market due to the current slump in the world economy, we cannot forget our commitment with regard to OL’KALOU and guarantee our ongoing contribution to the various projects for survival in support of a quality life for these children.
Now part of the family, in our seventh year of cooperation, our commitment is as strong as ever, allocating our usual budget originally destined for Christmas gifts for clients in favour of this Care Centre for disabled children in Kenya.
Over the past year Kenya has suffered more than ever with the tribal feuds that still continue, and the refugee camps scattered across the land are just not enough to help everyone.
OL’KALOU has been able to accommodate nine disabled children who otherwise would not have survived life in the camp, where only the fittest can pull through, offering them health care and education, but above all enabling them to smile once again.
Despite the critical situation in the country, the orthopaedic surgeons at OL’KALOU have been able to operate on 82 patients, then transferred to the rehabilitation centre, now housing an average of 200 children.
The project in support of OL’KALOU continues through a concrete financial commitment in support of the work for recovery and rehabilitation of disabled children, all guests at this structure constantly in need of external help to carry forward their fundamental daily work in caring for those most in need.
Thanks to the commitment of Rifra, the disabled children at OL’KALOU will be given warm and comfortable clothes to wear.
In fact among the numerous projects, there was the essential need to dress the children in warmer more practical clothing, suited to the cold and rainy climate.
The new uniforms will soon be worn by the little guests, who will finally no longer feel the cold.
A small step to improve the life of disabled children cared for by all missionaries and nuns of this association, who can also rely on the help of Rifra, now a “family member”.
There is nothing more rewarding, both for us and our clients, than to see these needs met, also thanks to our contributions, never enough to solve the great number of problems afflicting these people, above all children, who are the main victims in this situation.
Thanks to the funds also allocated by our company, the last building work has been completed for the accommodation of physiotherapists working on rehabilitation of the physically handicapped and mutilated in Kenya.
The project, frozen for some time due to lack of funds, is just as important as the work involved in restoring the physiotherapy department of the hospital, the set-up of treatment rooms and the interventions and employment of specialist doctors, all impossible without outside funding.
The opportunity of accommodation for employees means the guarantee of 24-hour care, above all when we consider that there are more than one hundred children awaiting operations, despite the fact that work carries on at full regime, and many are in the phase of being discharged after fully recovery.
Rifra continues its support in the current OL’KALOU project; an important objective to highlight that the conscience of a business does not only consist in dynamics and productivity, but also in acknowledging solidarity and offering concrete assistance, with the ability to transmit and increase a culture of solidarity inside and outside the company, as a priority value to be shared by all.
Thanks to funding by Rifra, the children of OL’KALOU can count on new treatments and structures.
The commitment of Rifra has aided the restoration of the hospital, and more specifically the department of physiotherapy (flooring, veranda and movement of doors to prevent rain from entering the rooms) and to provide the physiotherapist David Kiprotich with a salary, otherwise impossible using local revenue. Funding has also helped pay for the assistance of a laboratory technician qualified for medical examinations of children.
Work still needed involves the conversion of the store adjacent to physiotherapy room into an occupational therapy area, and the creation of a new store behind the new dormitory, for the storage of wheelchairs, mattresses etc.
In line with company philosophy, Rifra continues its support in the current OL’KALOU project and all related requirements, such as:
- purchase of medicine for the dispensary
- purchase of orthopaedic equipment
- school fees for disabled children
Participating in the recovery and rehabilitation of children suffering from physical handicaps due to illness or mutilation in Kenya, converting Christmas gift funds into a concrete financial contribution, is a way of keeping alive all hope in a better future, above all for those living on the margins of a world where suffering and deprivation prevail, still struggling simply to survive, so unlike our daily problems where today’s economy still fails to acknowledge and reward many years of hard work.
OL’KALOU is the project that Rifra decided to finance since the year before, allocating the budget originally intended for the customary Christmas gifts to clients; a solid financial contribution aimed at supporting the work of the Missionaries and Nuns in the recovery and rehabilitation of children in Kenya who have suffered handicaps due to illness or mutilation.
In their “new home” of OL’KALOU, 146 boys and girls are cared for, aged from 4 to 18, now living far from their families.
Here they undergo rehabilitation, they study and prepare to return to “normal life”, able once again to look to the future in hope.