By Meghan Kimball, a member of the January 2017 SkillCorps Kenya team
Well we are quickly nearing our stay here at Kaizora School in Kenya. This experience has been life changing not only personally but professionally. Before I left, I had the mindset and idea that we were headed to Kenya to “fix” Kaizora school and teach them what we deemed as the best and most effective ways to work with children with Autism. Through the process of orientation and the time spent at the school I have learned that what we may perceive as the right thing or best practices, may not always be applicable and sustainable for others, especially those with different resources and barriers.
The focus of SkillCorps is to create a self-sustaining program for our partners that is based around their priorities combined with our support, education and experiences. I have learned that if it is not a priority for someone else, it will not be sustainable, thus may not be the best use of our talent. Kaizora has been a partner with the Global Autism Project for over 7 years and they have an amazing program established. When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see ABA happening with children of all different abilities. They have created a program that works for them, meeting the needs of their kids, within their culture, with the support of SkillCorp teams. Our job was to come support them to create what works best for them, not fix what we perceived as problems.
This experience has changed the way I view not only problems or perceptions in my personal life but also within my career. I have realized the importance of working together, collaboration and problem-solving so that both parties’ priorities are considered and that the solution is effective and sustainable. It has changed my perspective on working with teams, to create something that can last, when we are no longer around to support. I thank both the staff at Kaizora as well as my team for opening my eyes to new ways of thinking and challenging my perspective! Thank you!