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Losing my son to cerebral palsy inspired me to help children with special needs

Achieving Woman
 Christine Arunga Mutola the proprietor of BM Cerebral Palsy Salon (Photo: Courtesy)

When you move around estates in Nairobi, you will not miss to spot salons operating side by side and most of them cannot effectively cater for clients with special needs.

In Donholm Phase 8, one salon stands out: the BM Cerebral Palsy Salon. It was opened in March to create a safe space for persons living with cerebral palsy to have their hair done. The salon offers employment to caregivers of children with the condition. 

Christine Arunga Mutola owns the salon. It is supported by the Barrack Museka Foundation which she founded to pay homage to her son who succumbed to complications of cerebral palsy in 2016.

“This salon is not just for people living with cerebral palsy. It is for everyone. So, every time one makes their hair here, they are supporting someone with the condition to access diapers, medication, therapy sessions and even put food on their table,” she says.

Mutola says taking care of her son for eight years made her understand the challenges other families face. She thought she was alone on that journey until she started interacting with other parents and people living with cerebral palsy.

“It was very challenging but after seeing other parents coping and seeing adults living with cerebral palsy, I knew my son was going to be okay in adulthood,” she says.


However, he died after years of struggling with the condition. “I was devastated when he died, I cried a lot and asked God why he took away my son and I hadn’t complained of taking care of him. I wasn’t tired of taking care of him. I kept telling myself that I would carry him and change him even if he were 40 years old. He was my baby,” she says.

With the support of her husband and their three daughters, she soldiered on. She launched the foundation two years after her son’s death.

 Sarah Moraa (right) holds her daughter who has cerebral palsy as the hair is done (Photo: Courtesy)

Sarah Moraa who has a 10-year-old daughter living with cerebral palsy says that the salon attendants are patient with her because most of them have children with the condition and are trained on how to take care of them.

“It has not been an easy journey, the stigma is too much, people stare and others make inappropriate comments but over the years, I have learnt to ignore. The salon is amazing. I always know my daughter is in great hands when she’s here,” she says.

Moraa adds that her daughter’s treatment is costly and she spends Sh8, 000 on medication per month.

Elijah Mokua Nyaigoti says his 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after developing a heart condition.

“The heart condition got better after the surgery. But when she was four years old, everything changed. It was January 1, 2012, we came back home after spending the day at the park and that is when she started convulsing and lost consciousness. She was in a coma for four months and we were told she suffered severe brain damage,” he recalls.

Nyaigoti describes the daughter as his best friend who always notices when he is home. “She has level 5 cerebral palsy, that means she can’t move or do anything. If you don’t turn her, she can stay in the same position the whole day. But she always lights up when I get home. She’s my only daughter, she’s my world,” he says.

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