Jacaranda workshop kileleshwa is a non-profit community organisation . It was set up to help children and adults who are mentally challenged through training and employment. Jacaranda workshop is a self supporting enterprise that where mentally handicapped peopleare helps to gain knowledge ans experience ro relate with the outside society. It has been operational for over 32 years.
The centre has been in existence and is of major help to many children and adults training them with social skills and educational knowledge to aid them with their day to day life. The main order of business is the assembly of materials in making of beaded necklaces ,earings, bracelets, keyholders , glass beads, semi precious stones and clay sourced locally.
When i Registered for the Community service class i really did not see the essence of it (lay man is that it’s individuals permission to volunteer your time at an organization). Later on when i started doing my Community service at jacaranda workshop i was filled with mixed reactions on one hand this is a new enviroment that i have never been But on the other hand it was exicting . Community service proved to be a challenge one being that it is so far away from where i stay and waking up in the Morning early so as to be at institution early , working with people whom you do not know having made to be creative of people.
The intial thing that come in mind before i started Community service is that i would be hectic and tiresome.During my first day in class we were told be go to our various institutions with an open mind which was kind of hard but all on all i Managered to pull it through by doing the level best. my open mindedness was blown away by the beautifil , Amazing and extra odinary work that was been done by the people at the workshop.
Some children attend school while others are home schooled while others do not to to school at all (those who are mentally challenged) hence lack of equal education opportunities since to raise some fees for all of them is a challenge and to many parents not knowing how to explain their childrens condition hide them from the society and by the time they are taken to the institutions that handle mentally challenged individuals its too late for them to form a grounded foundation.
There biggest challenge is that of getting the finances and manpower to help in the day to day running if the workshop, the money they get from the sell of their products is what they depend on to keep the place running and sometimes money from well wishers.
The people there that i was intresting with in a day to day basis, they were a very social lot and fum to be around.Mr joseph is our instructor wasone of the most accomodating person having to deal with people from all walks of life: what is to be done and how to do it, he is always there to give us directions.
Due to much thought , the experience that i have learnt from the workshop is very heart-warming by just what i have been able gather and learn and apply to my day to day life. Remenecsing back at the abilities and nurtured potential of those individuals have is refreshing. They are talented; some of them good at art work, beading and some good at weving mats from unthinkable materials which helps them to build themselves ans make them different in the society. If there is one occasion that gives me a lot of happiness and joy that is I looking forward to most. This experience gave me deeper love and understanding for every individual , just do not see a person and be ready to pass a comment or judgment and that one should tret every individual differently with love, care and understanding particularly those who are not given the needed help from either their pqrents and the society. Through sharing this experience, you would love them too and to see that as much as they have the workshop you would love to help them to in any way you can since the money they get from the sell of the work is what is used to mainatain and pay them.
When i reported to my first day at jacaranda their was this lady called sarah, what a woman she is ( wedding plans started commencing people were given roles and i thought she was serious but later on learned that it was not, she was very jealous of every girl George her supposed husband talked to) so one time she dound me talking to George she become so violent that i thought she was going to beat me. I was ao sacred that i used to stay away from her path ro avoid having confrontations with her. At times one forget that you are dealing with special people and you let anger get the better of you only to realise that the two of you are different. But all in all it’s all about patience and self control. In regards to the United Nations vision 2020 sustainable development goals number 4. Quality education that each and every person have access to good quality education for everyone regardless of where you come from. Kenya came up with free primary and secondary education but i feel its not accessible to everyone everywhere is looking to be a challenge to those not accessible. If more mobilization and projects and policies in regards to education are given priorities and followed to the ladder then will break barriers of having accessible education everywhere.
I together with my other colleages we are usually involved in various activities. Such activities include:
-Rolling up clay to beads
-Assembling and making necklaces, earings and bracelets
Looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the workshop can help improve the management of the organization. Jacaranda workshop has its strengths, being suited in the surbad sera of Nairobi it is all about bring awareness to mental health and that its meaning Narrowed that people from all social standings do differ from it and this brings all people together. Childern from the special school when they graduate already have people who can lead them through their transition to their new life to the outside world, the workforce is ready and able. When we look at finances of running the organization then alot of saying is done most of their products are made from scratch at the workshop with the manpower they have apart from wood and fishing lines which they out source.
Just like any other organization they also have their weaknesses some being the jewellery they make are of good and high quality and Sadly they do not have constant market for their products. Other people in the same industry move from place to place and they have established a market for their products unloke Jacaranda who relly on people to Visit their website or Facebook so as to get clients.
But their is room for improvement and we Living in a digitalk world they could use the social world to market their products, using fairs and workshops that at times the government organize could also help put their name in the market of they attend such they could learn and improve more on what they are doing, improvin their sales and also giving awareness to people in what they are about and that mentally challenged people are just like any other person.
The only threat i see is Jacaranda workshop is just one of its kind and it’s just in nairobi what about the rest of the people who are not Living in nairobi how will the get help. When people get to be aware of its existence then they will havw alot on their plate and they will not be able to function as properlly if the place becomes congested. If they by chance want to open branches else where in the country thwy will be faced with finicial issues of setting up new places which is quite expensive, lack of finicial support leads to closure of projects that would have helped alot of people and dissapointments soon follow.
How we treat others is really important and that the first impression anyone has on you will alway stand out amongest the rest. Having diversity really broadens one view of things and the world in general. Before i went to Community service i never heard of jacaranda workshop and now that i know of it i also what other people to know of its existence and that instead of shunning individuals who are mentally challenged from the society they can bring them to jacaranda and be equipped with necesarry skills both social and employment skills that will help them better their lives and give them a face in the society that they might be different fron the rest but they are the same as rhe rest and they to shoukd be given opportunities just like the rest. I would recommend students from USIU -A to do their Community service in such institution and get to have awareness on what is happening in the society which does not get as much credit as it should. Knowledge is power and having awareness on issues that affect our society keep us on the map that we have a problem and people to care to find a solutions to the problem. We africans thought that mental problems are white people problems so we didnt give much thought ro it until it started affecting us that it we become aware. Awareness is key and people become informed.
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