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Kahesa Zanzibar Centre to Enable Intellectually Challenged

To provide a vital service non-existent in Zanzibar to increase the well-being of children with Down syndrome, autism, and development delay

Photo of Simia Ahmadi
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What problem does your idea solve?

The problem is Zanzibar is that children (and adults for that matter) with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism are victimized and stigmatized. In both cases they are prone to all kinds of abuses. There is a lack of access to services and disability education within the community. The Kahesa Zanzibar Centre intends to fill that gap to provide services to increase the well-being of persons with disabilities through art and music therapy.

Explain your idea

I would be able to create a team of professionals, volunteer and paid, to provide art therapy and music therapy to increase the well being of the children, to bring them out of the house and into our centre with various art and music therapy sessions per day. We would also help to break stigmatisation by showcasing their work through exhibitions and have them interact with the community. They could also do music performances at the various music and film festivals in Zanzibar. It would increase their behaviour, social and communication skills, make them happier, as well as their families, and allow them to have more confidence, thus a brighter future.

Who benefits?

Children from age 3 to 18 with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, Global Development Delay, and in some cases Cerebral Palsy

How is your idea unique?

It is unique in the sense that no one else is providing such a service in Zanzibar. (see in the idea above as to the reason it is not being provided for at all in Zanzibar).

Tell us more about you

I am a human rights activist for 25 years. I worked at local, regional and international level, and in East Africa for 15 years (on off). I have worked in Zanzibar at the Zanzibar Legal Service Centre and the Legal and Human Rights Center in Dar Es Salaam, establishing their first Monitoring division. I have established KAHESA PAPER in Kenya for young adults to have jobs since 2012, and the company will be run by someone else while Kahesa in Zanzibar will be an NGO run by me.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

I have to say I think I have it well figured out! Except for where we will find some of the art and music supplies, though I can always get these in Nairobi where I am currently living (about to move to Zanzibar in two months).

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Tanzania

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are not registered but plan to in the future.

Idea Maturity

  • Mature Growth/Currently Operating: I am currently implementing this idea but may still be iterating.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Seda Topaç

Hello I am an occupational therapist. Sensory integration therapy in occupational therapy is very effective for childeren of autism, development delay and down symdrome. Occupational therapists work to promote, maintain, and develop the skills needed by students to be functional in a school setting and beyond.  Active participation in life promotes: learning self-esteem,self-confidence,independence and social interaction. Occupational therapists use a holistic approach in planning programmes. They take into account the physical, social, emotional, sensory and cognitive abilities and needs of students.
In the case of autism, an occupational therapist works to develop skills for handwriting, fine motor skills and daily living skills. However, the most essential role is also to assess and target the child’s sensory processing disorders. This is beneficial to remove barriers to learning and help the students become calmer and more focused. Sensory integration therapy is based on the assumption that the child is either “over stimulated” or “under stimulated” by the environment. Therefore, the aim of sensory integration therapy is to improve the ability of the brain to process sensory information so that the child will function better in his/her daily activities. Children are often prescribed a sensory diet or lifestyle by the occupational therapist.
A sensory diet/lifestyle helps the child’s nervous system to feel better organised and therefore assists the child’s attention and performance. A qualified occupational therapist can use his or her advanced training and evaluation skills to develop an effective sensory diet for the student to implement throughout the course of the day.
Occupational therapy intervention is proven to impact on improving the communication, interaction skills and motor skills of some of the most complex and ‘hard-to-reach’ children. Children are more regulated following intervention which reduces anxiety and increases these children’s opportunities to thrive and achieve in the overwhelming environment in which we now live.
I love my job. I love children. I love Africa so i want to work with you. :)

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