Creative Deception Pays Off for Msaranga Mother


While there are many challenges that come with providing services to people with intellectual disabilities, there are also many success stories that propel our mission forward.

One success story we recently lifted up at Mosaic International’s Partners in Possibilities event is that of three-year-old Josua.

When Josua’s mother first learned about Building a Caring Community (BCC) in 2015, the centre in their home neighborhood of Msaranga was already at capacity and unable to take on new clients. As an alternative, Josua was provided in-home services and received regular visits from an outreach worker.

Josua’s mother quickly recognized a world of possibilities for her son and knew that if he was to reach his full potential, periodic outreach visits would not be sufficient.

Unwilling to accept anything but the best for Josua, his mother took matters into her own hands to ensure that he could access the therapy and education available at the centre.

In a display of very creative deception, she began sneaking Josua into the centre each morning during morning prayer and leaving before the prayer was finished so the staff wouldn’t catch her at the centre. At the end of the day, she would return to pick Josua up and apologize for breaking the rules.

Much to the chagrin of the centre staff, the following day (and for many subsequent days afterwards), she would show up in the morning and do the exact same thing. The centre staff eventually gave in and made an official space for Josua at the centre, realizing they were no match for his mother’s persistence.

Josua’s initial progress at Msaranga Centre was slow, as a heart condition made him frequently lethargic and short of breath. Once assessed by BCC’s Health Coordinator, Josua was enrolled in the PROMOT Health Program, which gave him the opportunity to visit a cardiologist at Dar es Salaam’s Muhimbili Hospital (a 12-hour bus ride from Moshi). The cardiologist prescribed medication that helped manage his heart condition. Soon, lethargy and shortness of breath were no longer an issue, and Josua quickly began hitting his developmental milestones.

Now three years old, Josua is walking, talking and thriving at Msaranga Centre. Josua loves spending time with the older boys at the centre, inspecting cars in the parking lot and toddling around outdoors. His vocabulary is growing every day, he can count from one to 10, and he can always be counted on to enthusiastically greet visitors to the centre.

Given his progress so far, the staff at Msaranga Centre have big dreams for Josua and are currently advocating for the preschool at Msaranga to be integrated, which would allow Josua to learn and grow alongside his peers without disabilities.

It’s clear that Josua’s mother’s push to ensure her son had access to these crucial services has paid off.

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