Educating through media

Addressing disabled pre-school readiness

19 January 2020 | Education

Dr Lee Ann Palmer; Kiburi Media Solutions; “I thought of how the Namibian child is robbed of their potential future.”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

Kiburi Media Solutions, a multifaceted company from the coast, aims to mitigate the pre-school readiness problem faced by children with disabilities at pre-school level.

The company, which was founded in 2018, plans to produce interesting, entertaining and educational programmes on a variety of well-researched topics for early childhood development.

Founder Dr Lee Ann Palmer said that the company was encouraged to act due to an apparent lack of facilities that cater for people with disabilities in Namibia. Statistics indicate that 90% of children living with disabilities have never been to pre-school or to a nursery (UNICEF, 2004).

“I thought of how the Namibian child is robbed of their potential future. Many people living with disabilities in the developing world still face stigma and isolation, and this is evident within our own country. The worst affected are often young children whose parents can struggle against cultural and systemic barriers,” Palmer said.

According to early child development writer Elaine Hunter, 82% of disabled children aged over five years have never attended school in rural areas compared to 18% in the country’s urban areas.

Palmer, who is also a veterinarian, said another reason for starting the company was to use the educational power of the media to help children reach their highest potential.

“Most Namibian families own television sets or have access to a radio. This could be very effective especially for those who don’t have the financial means.”

Keeping busy

Kiburi Media Solution aims to address the critical educational needs of pre-school children and deliver research-based, goal-directed content across a variety of media platforms, Palmer explained.

The company held its first auditions for presenters in Walvis Bay between December 2018 and February 2019, with numerous contestants participating.

Thereafter the company launched its Kiburi sound label and signed a local artist to produce tunes that will be used as educational therapy and for children’s musical entertainment.

At the moment Kiburi Media Solutions is expanding its foundation to accommodate more experts to address critical problem that children with disabilities face in terms of pre-school readiness.

“Kiburi” is a Kiswahili word which means “pride”.

“We felt it’s time we celebrate Namibian pride by producing content in English but fusing it with local languages. We could even share our content with other neighbouring African countries,” Palmer said.

She added that she would like to help the youth of Walvis Bay with the different programmes offered by Kiburi Media Solutions.

“We discovered that many teenagers don’t really understand some of the careers they choose. They just use basic knowledge or are forced to make a decision by their parents.”

The Young Achievers of Walvis Bay approached the company to educate teenagers on career guidance in 2019. In reaction, Kiburi Media Solutions developed a course to help gear the youth on job direction.

According to Palmer, there are not enough recreational facilities in Walvis Bay, especially for special needs children.

“At the moment children with disabilities have no access to the current facilities available. During case studies that we conducted, we saw that children with wheelchairs are limited to park activities and indoor recreational areas.”

To improve this situation, Kiburi is planning on establishing recreational parks adapted for both indoor and outdoor facilities to cater for special needs.

She thanked various individuals and companies for their support so far.

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