Joyful noises and the sounds of activity emanated from the classroom near the gate once again this week. After two months of sitting mostly empty during the holidays, the Treasures in Jars of Clay classroom hosted the children and teachers of the special needs program for their new school term beginning on Monday.
Three new students joined the class for the first time, bringing the total number to 18. This year, the children will spend an additional day in class, attending five days per week.
Each morning, the children who live with their families out in the village are picked up by the program’s van.
This first week, a few students missed some of the days. By Friday, however, the staff had checked on everyone to be sure they would be coming back.
A typical day in class includes lessons in math and literacy, practical life skills, physiotherapy sessions, meals, bathing, and lots of loving care and interaction.
The Treasures children range in level of ability, but each one is related to and encouraged at their own pace.
A couple of the students who have fewer physical handicaps enjoy helping the teachers in the ways they can – whether it’s stirring the breakfast porridge to cool it or wheeling the chairs of the students who cannot walk.
The staff have witnessed significant advances with several of the students in their care.
Their gentle care for these special ones quickly reveal itself from even a short time of observation. Through exercises and perseverance, the teachers are helping some of the children to have increased mobility!
The Treasures teachers have been blessed since the beginning of the program to partner with a trained physiotherapist who helps them know how best to help the children.
The therapist also comes to the community outreach sessions each month to help families caring for special needs children who are not part of the class.
One of the Treasures students is particularly determined that she wants to walk by the time she is seven (later this month). So far, she can walk with someone supporting her, or with help using a wheeled walker.
Her frequent wide smiles are full of vitality, and her insistence on trying to do things for herself is motivational.
After class each day, the students from the community are carefully loaded back into the van for the trip home.
But for the six students who live onsite, the care continues around the clock. And so the staff continue pouring into the students, investing in those they have chosen to treasure.
Please pray for the children and caregivers in the Treasures program, that the staff would be encouraged as they continue showing the love of God to those in their care.
If you would like to sponsor the special needs program or one of the students in it, please contact our sponsorship office at email@example.com!
Photos and text by Esther Carey