We are honored by your interest in our organization. And now that we have your attention, allow us to share a brief history of our company and an overview of what we do. It is our profound hope that you will find our cause worthy and that you will elect to be a catalyst for real change in someone’s life.
The Cluster Foundation (TCF) was established in 2008 with the objective of inspiring Spinally Injured Persons (SIPs) in Kenya to transform their self-perception – and concurrently, that of the society – through the delivery of Recreation Therapy Programs aimed at restoring their confidence and sense of independence.
TCF envisions an outcome where SIPs, following active engagement in TCF’s Recreation Therapy Programs, find it within them to rally out of their homes and dive back into the mainstream of society. We believe TCF, through its Recreational Therapy Approach and Programs, is at the vanguard of engagements tailored to positively alter societal perception of SIPs.
The dire need of the organization is to operate the TCF Recreational Therapy Program (RTP) as scheduled and simultaneously replicate the services across the country.
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they have the heart” Elizabeth Andrew.
We have never seen our friends more eager to get up when a volunteer comes in and wants to play games
This is a term coined to refer to engagements that offer TCF beneficiaries (SIPs) the skills and tools needed to function in society and improve one’s quality of life. It’s using recreation and education in the form of therapy as a technique of meeting one’s physical, mental, emotional and social goals.
Research paints a ghastly picture regarding SIPs psychosocial well-being. After excellent therapeutic work on SIPs at the hospital, once home, their families are unable to cope with managing the condition due to a host of reasons. These include – but not limited to – archaic beliefs (social & cultural), absent or inadequate information on how to care for SIPs, financial constraints, hectic work schedules and so on. The SIPs also face unique challenges. For starters, their loss of mobility often replicates a feeling of being a burden. As a result, SIPs tend to be plagued by a fear of going home and/or facing the general public due to their affliction. They also suffer an amplified fear of the unknown, are impeded by limited access to utilities & services and are resigned to a life devoid of the simple comforts and pleasures we take for granted.
In light of this unfortunate scenario, 80% of SIPs in Kenya end up dying within a span of 5 years after being discharged from the hospital. This is primarily as a direct consequence of stress, loneliness and an unrelenting sense of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness, which form the Depressive Cognitive Triad..
The Cluster Foundation (TCF), evolved from the experience of two people volunteering social and physical support to a mutual friend with paralysis. Success with this friend aroused an interest in the fate of similar cases. Nick Nguyo & Njoki Mwangi initially ran a motivational speaking business jointly, put their motivational & inspirational skills to their friend Nicholas Njuguna. In 2007 we began visiting Nicky who had been home for 22years after complications from a motor vehicle accident when he was 17yrs old ~ we played with him, exercised him, inspired him perform tasks he believed were nolonger a priviledge to him like getting into a swimming pool an activity he loved most swimming, drove him out and about, took him out to the movies, for an ice cream party, we loved doing most exciting things with him. Before we knew it, he was sitting on his own, his feet had straightened out, and his “paralyzed” left side was doing stuff he’d only ever dreamed of doing…. He was seriously motivating US instead!! By the end of our 2nd year with him, he was standing by himself for 15mins without losing balance, sitting on his own out of his wheelchair, he could walk with a single 3-legged stick, he was exercising, switching switches on & off in his room, holding food & stuff with his left hand, raising his left leg without raising it with his right hand, his speech improved with minimum slurring, laughing & being as witty as he used to be, he regained his memory, and so much more. He was no longer just alive, he now was living!! We were thrilled!! So excited yet so puzzled about what other people with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) did day to day, and where were they anyway?? We searched and we sure found! These “missing” people were stuck in their homes, afraid to re-emerge in their new conditions, believing they ‘can’t” do this or that. We believed they CAN do it differently!! By mid-2008 we were working with 6 people with SCI.
We’d pick them all and assemble at one person’s home then work out with them as a group, motivating each other, discussing pertinent and sensitive issues, laughing & sharing a meal together… We were running out of our personal and family funds we needed support from the society, and so we quickly decided to take the plunge – this birthed The Cluster Foundation (TCF) and registered in September 2008! Due to the lack of funds against the escalating demand for TCF’s inspirational activities monthly, we started a project of collecting newspapers from people’s homes & offices. We the newspapers sold to recyclers and the funds channeled to The Foundation. These enabled us build a network from home to home to offices collecting papers that has grown to TCF’s ‘wheel pals’.
These networks spread to homes with people with paralysis stuck in their homes; newspapers have led people to donate more than newspapers: funds and volunteering, newspapers generated interested parties who wished to offer their governing expertise thus formed the TCF board, newspapers also attracted the firms that have offered their services pro bono for: TCF branding, TCF logo, TCF website development & design, TCF transport & lunches for various TCF activities, TCF furnishings, in a nutshell all that TCF is and has today.Everyone has become more involved with TCF’s objective of rallying people with spinal cord injuries out of their homes back into the mainstream of the society. Currently, through revenue from your newspapers TCF gathers an average 50 people with paralysis and volunteers every month for an I Can Experience activity at no cost. It expanded its services to include group activities and social outings. The majority of our beneficiaries have lived with their Spinal Cord Injury below 5 years, meaning they’re newly-injured, which is really good — we get to hit them hot as they’re entering this new world of managing paraplegia or quadriplegia. If we can get them early, we can instill a positive perception or this passion for being adventurous and outgoing attitude and not being limited by their physical condition. The Cluster Foundation stands strong because it totally depends on its 2 pillars PARTNERSHIP and NETWORKING, which ensure sustainability and replication. Its maiden chapter is based in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi; its model shall gradually be rolled out to other 46 counties.