Special Hope Network is a faith-based nonprofit located in Lusaka, Zambia (since May 2010), working with children who have intellectual disabilities. The World Health Organization estimates that 2 out of every 10 children in the developing world are physically and/or intellectually disabled. Most of these children are not registered at birth, and have no official or legal status.
These children are left particularly vulnerable. Most communities consider children who have a disability a curse̶ or punishment for his or her parentʼs wrongdoing. Children are often hidden away and denied basic care.
There is also an unfortunate lack of resources that exist in Zambia for children with disabilities, and their families. Very few medical professionals are educated in the field of disability, and even fewer are willing to give a child with a disability quality care. As for education, most government schools do not have special education programs. The only special education programs offered exist in community-based schools, which are privately funded with very limited capacity. This is where Special Hope Network has stepped in by opening Community Care Centers.
Community Care Centers
Our Community Care Centers (CCCs) are at the heart of what we do. We believe that children with intellectual disabilities have an important role in their families and in their communities.
Because of this, we open centers in the community where Special Hope staff can partner with parents to provide the guidance, skills, and support necessary to see their children with disabilities thrive.
Community Care Center (CCC) services include medical guidance, family counseling, motor training, communication support, feeding instructions, and educational lessons. Each center provides a space for 50-125 children and families. Our CCCs operate as parent training centers, and are “one-stop-shops” for everything a child needs, and all the resources and training that a parent or caregiver requires. Our CCCs consider every aspect of the childʼs health and well-being so that each caregiver can be trained based on the specific needs of their child. The centers are located within each compound so that the community can feel the impact of a safe, inclusive space for children with disabilities.