Maria Omare, The Action Center

Maria OmareMaria Omare is passionate about improving the lives of children with special needs. She is the founder of The Action Foundation, an organization that assists people with physical and intellectual disabilities living in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the Kibera slums of Nairobi, essential services such as health care and education are often inaccessible to children with disabilities. Maria hopes to make these services readily available through The Action Foundation Centre, a rehabilitation center for children with special needs.

“Social stigma and discrimination has led to families hiding

[their disabled children] and locking them up in their homes. My project also involves sensitizing the community about the importance of involving children in the mainstream and educating them about the availability of our services,” said Maria.

The center operates like a parent cooperative, where parents of the participating children volunteer to run and operate the center.  It will provide free physiotherapy, health care, and play activities for children living with disabilities such as Autism, Down’s Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. The rehabilitation center currently holds 15 members.

Pollination Project funding will be used towards essential equipment and supplies for physiotherapy and play activities. Funding will also cover some of the expenses for basic training in physiotherapy for the parents of the children. Maria estimates that, through the center, 150 or more children with disabilities in Kibera will have access to therapy and support in the next 12 months.