IN SIERRA LEONE
JPOH is a special education school in Sierra Leone that offers individuals with autism and other special needs, a secure, protected, and inclusive environment that promotes independence.
We offer the following services:
We have trained teachers that support our students academically according to their abilities.
In Sierra Leone, most individuals with special needs cannot afford a daily balanced, healthy meal. You may see them roaming the streets and begging for food. Because of this, JPOH provides healthy and balanced meals that include whole grains, vegetables and fruits, for breakfast and lunch, and also provides snacks. Some of these individuals are unable to feed themselves, and this can lead to malnutrition, and poor health. To help combat this, JPOH assists with feeding, appropriate use of utensils, and proper hand washing before eating, and after using the bathroom.
We also have a clinical dietician in the United States who gives inservice to our staff on the different challenges that children with special needs face. She is always available to answer questions that our staff may have.
There is also a trained staff that works with the students daily.
Assistance with activities of daily living
Sierra Leone has a high rate of Typhoid. Typhoid is transmitted by ingesting contaminated food or drinks. JPOH makes sure our clients are taught proper hand washing techniques, and good personal hygiene, including bathing, brushing their teeth, washing their uniforms, cleaning their shoes, and wearing clean clothes. We also teach them to identity clean versus unclean food, and to recognize clean drinks, not just by their looks, but by their source. We also teach functional skills.
We have music and dancing, games, arts and crafts, painting and coloring. In the future we will have field trips to expose our students to community activities.
Health and fitness
We have a health clinic on the premises where we provide basic health assessment and education, including blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks and sensitization on health maintenance and disease prevention. Clients and their families are educated on proper medication handling and administration, including appropriate hand washing. We also have daily exercise programs that are tailored to each individuals need.
Internship Programs with local businesses
This year 2022, we had student teachers from Njala University college visit our school for a two weeks internship. They were very excited to work with our students and we are expecting more students next academic year.
We also have electricians, carpenters that have been working with our students on campus.
Future Goal: We will partner with local businesses with full support from our staff. Students who qualify are partnered with businesses for training in vocational skills, with full support from the center. A support staff will accompany the student to the business during the first week, until they are comfortable to be there on their own.
Workshops and Skills Training.
Our future goal: Monthly workshops including cake baking and decorating classes, carpentry, arts and crafts. and money management skills, are held to assist our clients in becoming independent and self-reliant.
We partner with local businesses, colleges, and medical facilities to share their skills on a monthly basis, and to take in clients as interns. We also encourage college students who are studying social work, education, nursing or medicine, to volunteer and to use our center as a research and practical site.
We had our first set of student interns from Njala University college in July 2022 and looking forward to see more interns in future.
Community Education and Sensitization
We provide sensitization in the community on disabilities and ways to support those with special needs. This way they can be productive citizens of the community, by showing videos on different diagnoses and ways to support individuals. We create community programs where those without special needs, are paired with those with special needs, as a buddy system in a safe and supervised environment.
Support Groups for families with individuals with Special Needs
Families in Sierra Leone with children/relatives with Special Needs lack adequate support systems, we want them to know they are not alone and should not be ashamed of their family member with special needs. We also encourage and empower the group to rely on each other for support by offering counselling and listening sessions to provide coping strategies when caring for persons with special needs at home.
We assist immigrant families of African descent on how to navigate the system to get services for their kids. We also offer emotional support by sharing our story of how our family was able to overcome the stigma surrounding kids with autism and other special needs in our community. We do video meetings with parents with autistic kids and assist them with functional skills.
We also do community education and sensitization on Autism and other special needs.