2024 Reciprocal Exchange

In Kenya

Building Community through Disability Awareness and Inclusion

Our mindset if the most important asset in order to make a difference in a child’s life.”

Jess Amato, Reciprocal Exchange Participant
Jess demonstrates a play exercise during the workshop.

In April, 2021 Fellowship Alumna Jackie Waiharo of Kenya collaborated with Jess Amato on a Reciprocal Exchange project to promote inclusive practices for children with disabilities. Through the collaboration, the two combined their experience in disability awareness and social inclusion.

Jess and Jackie visit Jackie’s school.

Jackie is a teacher who works with the Kiambu County government in the Kinoo Ward as a representative for people with disabilities. As a young woman living with a disability in Kenya, she volunteers as an ambassador at a community center, where she creates opportunities for others to grow and learn about inclusion.

Jess and Jackie demonstrating a play exercise during the workshop.

Jess is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist® (CTRS) with experience developing, managing, and implementing programs and initiatives for people with disabilities. She has extensive expertise in using recreational therapy to educate professionals and advance social inclusion for people living with and without disabilities. In 2020, Jess founded Platform to Play with a mission to create awareness, autonomy, and explicit opportunity for play.

Jess answers questions from workshop participants.

Building community through awareness and inclusion of children with disabilities in the education system is a very key and important thing…All children are children regardless of having a disability or not.”

Jackie Waiharo, 2021 Fellowship Alumna, Kenya
Jackie and Jess pose with workshop participants.

The Reciprocal Exchange project promoted the importance of an inclusive society through an inclusion workshop and family event. During the workshop, teachers and school administrators could find solutions for students with disabilities and brainstorm inclusion strategies. Families of children with disabilities engaged in play and recreation to support their connection with one another and experience first-hand the power of inclusion.

Jess and Jackie with school administrators while visiting Jackie’s school.

This project aims to better inform the community at large and position all community leaders and members to work within the diverse context of the community to enhance inclusive practices.

Written by Abbie Wade.