Driven by a passion to work in the field of communicative disorders, Communicative Disorders Assistant alumnus Victor Musowa took advantage of an opportunity to study as an international student at Georgian, absorb as much knowledge as he could, and take it back to his native country of Malawi, Africa to help children with special needs.
“At Georgian, I learned how to be a leader,” he says.
In April 2013, he co-founded the Able Kids Rehab Clinic (formerly the Rehab Clinic and Children’s Education Centre) in the city of Blantyre. The speech and hearing program he developed for his previous employer was discontinued and he knew he had to do something for the children who were left without any treatment in one of the poorest countries in the world.
What started as “tiny thinking” as Victor calls it, has grown into a clinic that offers:
- pre-school education for kids with special needs to prepare them for public school
- speech therapy
- physiotherapy and occupational therapy
- audiological assessment
- specialized adaptive equipment
- counselling that offers social support to parents and helps to destigmatize various conditions
With a population of more than one million in Blantyre and no other clinic like it, there is no shortage of work.
Victor says he is grateful to Georgian professor Ellen Sheepway for helping him access diverse field placements and adds he was inspired by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s service delivery model.
Able Kids Rehab Clinic provides free services and receives no government funding. To launch it, Victor sought the support of a few working class parents of his patients to help rent a house and purchase supplies.
Since then, the clinic has become a registered charity and this core group has developed into its board of trustees. Victor also fundraises via the network he built while living in Canada.
Victor’s dream is to see the clinic grow and receive support from the government to help more children.
“I went to Canada for one year and I was able to build this. It no longer belongs to me – it belongs to the community. I want to have more clinics in more communities.”