SHN was started in the USA in 2008, when its founding family heard God’s call to move from the USA to Zambia to begin ministering to children with intellectual disabilities. On the ground in Zambia we began to see what the needs were, and how we could best meet those needs by visiting churches, orphan homes, therapy sites, clinics and schools. From that point, we realized that needs fell into every category, and that there was shockingly little provision for children or adults with intellectual disabilities. At that point, we chose to begin with a Community Care Center model, hoping that teaching parents and caregivers how to educate their child every week with other parents and children would begin to change Zambian culture. We currently have two Community Care Centers and one Resource Center for students from families who can pay for our services. The CCCs are free for all students.
Special Hope Network is a faith based; Christian organization, called to bear witness to God’s glory through caring for children with intellectual disabilities in Zambia; regardless of their race, religion, social status or gender, by equipping families and caregivers to provide a loving home, holistic health and exceptional education and therapies.
Christian. Professional. Networking. Full of Integrity. Committed. Communicative. Educate. Passionate. Building trust with parents and orphan homes, NGOs and churches. Teamwork. Accountability.
Special Hope Network - What We Do
SHN has grown in 6 years to serve 250 children per year, plus the average 8 family members per child, for an estimated 2000 people affected by our teaching and incentive food program. We have three Centers- two Community Care Centers and one Resource Center where children are taught academic skills, communication skills, therapies and adaptive skills. Each CCC is within a half hour walk from the child’s home, so the parents become their own supportive community, helping each other, and encouraging each other. We teach other organizations how to work with children with intellectual disabilities, and have worked with local churches so they’ll welcome children and adults with ID. We train local teachers, and currently have 25 Zambian staff and four staff from the USA. We teach parents about their child’s disability, with realistic steps they can take to improve their child’s learning and adaptive skills daily in their own home, with the limitations of income, sporadic or no electricity, needing to draw water, and the very limited education of the parent. Our hope is to have one CCC in each compound in Lusaka. Even this would just be barely scratching the surface of the need. Many compounds are so large that 3-4 CCCs would be a more appropriate number to begin to meet needs. We provide walkers, adaptive seating, gait trainers, food thickeners, positioning aids, and as much training as parents are interested in.