Eagle Scout Project, Med-El Corporation, and USU Donation Provide Support for Project at the Ngala School for the Deaf in Nakuru, Kenya

Happy Kenyan children playing

Did you know: The world population of children under 18 years of age is estimated at 2.2 billion, with over 90% of these children residing in under-developed or developing countries (United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], 2008). The focus on improving international education and child development has received much attention over the past two decades. According to the 2000 United Nations Education for All Summit in Dakar, Senegal, “Education is not only a right but a passport to human development. It opens doors and expands opportunities and freedoms. It contributes to fostering peace, democracy, and economic growth as well as improving health and reducing poverty”.

School supplies for the project

Consistent with the local, national, and international priorities of the College of Education at USU to expand educational opportunities for children, Elizabeth Parker, M.Ed. and Lauri Nelson, Ph.D., from the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, and Eric Nelson, a senior at Utah State University, recently returned from an educational and vocational training program at the Ngala School for the Deaf in Nakuru, Kenya. The program was coordinated by RaFIKis, a Salt Lake City-based non-profit organization, and included a total of 24 individuals from Utah and Montana. A primary goal of the RaFIKis organization is to assist students at the Ngala School for the Deaf to access improved educational services and to develop skills for sustainable vocational opportunities. RaFIKis was developed in 2006 and has provided annual educational and vocational training since its inception. The primary mission of the organization is to empower these special needs students with improved educational access, including knowledge and skills for increased vocational opportunities, such as carpentry and sewing programs.

MED-EL logo

However, such an endeavor requires adequate funding. To assist in meeting the goals of the training program in Kenya, William Young from Layton Utah, organized a fund drive to gather supplies and monetary donations in partial fulfillment of requirements to earn the Eagle Scout award. As a result of William’s efforts and leadership, he raised over $1000 in supplies and donations. In addition, Med-El Corporation, (a cochlear implant manufacturer) donated $500 and the USU Bookstore donated $50. These generous donations resulted in:

Eagle Scout William Young

Eagle Scout William Young

  • Educational supplies for the teachers (chalk, paper, pencils, crayons, glue, staplers, tape, etc)
  • Hundreds of new and used children’s books
  • Enough lumber to build 10 book cases
  • New equipment for the vocational center (drill, sander, router, chisels, hammers, nails, screws, etc)
  • Balls and other playground equipment

The training program was a tremendous success and included a variety of additional projects from the RaFIKis group, including extensive dental services. Deaf children are not able to attend public schools in Kenya. Therefore, the only opportunity available to them to receive educational and vocational training is to attend a boarding facility equipped to address their special needs. The financial demands on the Ngala School for the Deaf and the families of the children who attend are significant. Therefore, the donations and training received was greatly appreciated.