Having a child with disability in the family affects every family member, including the siblings. Very often these siblings have to take huge responsibilities and take care of the child with disability, despite their own age. This leads to different reactions e.g. feeling neglected, embarrassed, sad, stressed etc. They are often confronted with high expectations from the parents.
SEP decided to help the sibling children as well through offering a secure place, where they have the opportunity to express themselves, to talk about their feelings, their worries and their fears. The goal was to create a chatroom, where children with siblings with disabilities can meet each other to share their experiences, feelings and thoughts.
Knowing that there are other children who experience the same, can help to deal better with the own situation and leads to a feeling “I am not alone”.
SEP organized “play-days” during holidays for the siblings in the projects we support. We partnered with Sarakasi Trust—Hospital Project for this event. The Sarakasi team did what they do best: they made use of different games, songs, puppet shows and plays, with the aim to create more awareness and help the children to understand the condition of their sibling with a disability.
SEP professionals also got a chance to explain in simple terms different conditions to the children.
SEP has organized three series of siblings workshops in 2016 for our three partner projects: Songa Mbele na Masomo in Mukuru; Child Doctor in Mimosa; and Comboni Health Project in Kariobangi. We are hopeful that these workshops will help the siblings to:
- Build up good relationships with the child with disability.
- Develop skills in terms of how to deal with a child with disability.
- Stand up for the rights for their sibling with a disability.
- Talk about their feelings.
- Plan for their own future independently from the child with a disability.