The Able Kids Foundation is a registered Malawian NGO with a mission to provide expanded educational, clinical, and social opportunities to some of the most discriminated against and most marginalized young people in sub-Saharan Africa — poor children with disabilities. The AKF School and Rehab Clinic in Blantyre provides academic instruction, wide ranging therapy services, food and nutrition supplementation, therapeutic supports and family guidance for children as young as five months and as old as 12 years.
To visit the Able Kids Foundation’s website, click here.
You can hear Mr. Musowa talking the Able Kids Foundation in the below video. Skip to minute 20:00, where the talk begins.
Victor Musowa founded the AKF School and Clinic in 2013. Mr. Musowa grew up in a rural village in the Blantyre region of Malawi and was the first person from his primary school to score high enough on secondary school entrance exams to go beyond an elementary education. After receiving an undergraduate degree in rehabilitation therapy, Mr. Musowa sought funding opportunities to study abroad and entered the Communicative Disorders Assistant program at Georgian College in Ontario, Canada, from 2005-2006. Upon returning to Malawi, he provided speech and hearing therapy to students for a European-based NGO that served children with disabilities in Lilongwe, Malawi. When that organisation redefined its mission and suddenly stopped serving children with disabilities, Victor Musowa left to start the AKF School and Clinic for children with disabilities.
With virtually zero resources, Mr. Musowa has subsequently managed to create a high quality, effective education and rehabilitation program that adeptly serves the needs of students with a range of disabilities. The AKF School and Clinic is the only school of its kind in the region, and one of very few schools that educate children with disabilities in southern Africa.
Initially, 28 children enrolled, but now AKF School and Clinic serves 89 students and has a waiting list of some 240 children. There is an overwhelming demand for the services of our program that remain unmet. Today, students, teachers/therapists/aides are squeezed into a small rented house. Students who are currently enrolled in our day program receive breakfast, lunch and a snack each day, participate in the educational program (with a focus on numeracy and literacy instruction), clinical services (e.g., physical and occupational therapy), therapeutic supports, recreational opportunities, food and nutrition supplementation, therapeutic seating options, and our family outreach program.
To address the needs of some of the many families on the waiting list, the AKF has begun providing weekend services. Families often travel many miles with their children to participate in AKF weekend educational and therapeutic programs. While it not possible to address all the needs of so many children and so many families, the AKF staff try to accommodate as many as possible. The weekend program, while limited, provides basic educational supports and a food service program.
In further pursuit of its mission, the AKF now proposes to expand its facilities to accommodate more children with disabilities and to strengthen its educational and clinical program by expanding our array of clinical, recreational, and educational services.
Mr. Musowa’s dedication and perseverance has led to his nomination for several awards.
Last fall, he was nominated for the Premier Award, at his alma mater, Georgian College, in Ontario Canada. This award acknowledges, “the important economic and social contribution [Georgian] college graduates make worldwide.” As a nominee, Victor was invited to travel to Canada, where he made a moving speech at Georgian College, detailing his childhood, how he became involved in the work he is currently doing, and the challenges that his organization faces. You can watch the speech here. He was featured in the Georgian View magazine and the local news.
In December, Mr. Musowa was nominated to be an Ashoka Fellow. These fellows “are practical visionaries who introduce, and fully commit themselves to realizing, an important, new idea. They bring to bear on the social problem a fresh analysis and insight about how to fix it. They get systems unstuck and open new opportunities for citizens to be changemakers. With creativity and entrepreneurial skill, they push ahead their idea until it changes a pattern through wide adoption, often over many years.” To view Victor’s nomination and learn more about the important work that he is doing, click here.
In March, he was nominated for the King Baudouin Prize, which “rewards innovative approaches, initiated and led by Africans, which stand out as the best in their field, can be duplicated elsewhere on the continent, and have a longer term vision and a proven track record in improving the quality of life of local communities. Beyond its monetary value of 200,000 euros, the Prize offers its winners unique opportunities to promote their cause to international audiences in Brussels, Washington DC and New York City, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union, the foundation community and the world of international NGOs.” You can read the nomination narrative, which outlines many of Victor’s accomplishments, here.