Completed in 2020, the Hope Center for Children with Disabilities is the fruit of countless generous donors through both financial and talent-based gifts. Serving a remote area of Ethiopia in the Afar region, it is a first of it’s kind outpost, with the goal to provide a place for special care for those children who are suffering from a physical or mental disability. While this center will not be able to care for or cure all patients it will provide a resource for the community to provide proper care for those in need.
The facility has been constructed using modern architectural techniques in conjunction with indigenous materials. A multi-structure complex comprised of dormitories for both students and parents, cooking facilities, bathrooms surround open air communal spaces. Great care was taken in the center’s design to blend structural durability with aesthetic, cultural and environmental considerations.
Ethiopia is a country with a rich cultural history. From ancient architecture to a strong religious history and natural resources Ethiopia has much to be proud of. Due to tribal disputes, droughts, and the lack of adequate meeting spaces, education in general and education of children with disabilities; in portions of the country’s existing needs, lags behind the overall growth. GoDesign believes that educational opportunities, particularly for children with disabilities, can have a lasting impact on other areas that have been identified as in need of humanitarian assistance. As stated by UNICEF, education helps to improve health, hygiene, nutritional practices, and childcare. It is thus not only a right in itself but a means of realizing other rights”.
In many countries, children with disabilities seldom receive the educational services they need. Economic instability has often forced a reduction in services for children with disabilities. Cultural values have also impacted support for children with disabilities
Education has three main roles: it is developmental because it develops the unique qualities of a child; it differentiates between learners because it treats every child as an individual, appreciating individual differences; and it is integrative because it accommodates people of varying backgrounds (culture, beliefs, and values) thereby allowing for a cooperative approach in problem-solving (Abosi, 1996). The development goals for individuals with disabilities will include elimination of poverty, acquisition of practical and survival skills, employment, empowerment and total integration in the social world. All these could be achieved through a well-planned inclusive education system. Special education provides opportunities for education for all. Special education is part of general education which treats everyone involved in it as individuals. Special education identifies problems that are specific to individual learners and adopts relevant personnel, methods, and materials to overcome the problems. Special needs education ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in classroom and play activities.
The Hope Center is a school, clinic, and dorm housing for children with physical and mental disabilities. The Center will provide a place of rehabilitation for around 50 students. The rehabilitation will focus on the three critical areas listed above. The goal for each student is to reintegrate them back into the local society and school system while helping them become productive citizens. The program provides them with training in a vocation, agriculture, and basic life skills. The Center cares for each student by providing medical care and therapy. We believe that sports will provide a great avenue for children to learn valuable skills that will help them become productive citizens and will help in rehabilitation therapy.