Onsinyo has a heart for special needs children

Marcella Onsinyo wears very many hats. She is a songwriter, musician, curator, costume designer, translator, Kiswahili dialect coach, artist, cook, and a giver.

Though born and raised in Diani, a small town on the coast of Kenya, Onsinyo was exposed to different cultures right from childhood. It was a cocktail of German, Italian, British, and the local cultures (Swahili), coupled with Islamic and Christian religions. After all, it was these that made the Kenyan coastal music scene phenomenally rich and vibrant.

At 17, Onsinyo sang Handel’s Messiah for the Nairobi Hospice in a chorus with 200 singers. Her music has been featured in short films and one feature film. Onsinyo has also performed the anthems of Uganda, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, and China. In 2017, she co-composed the JAMAFEST theme song for the East African community Festival of Culture and the Arts, held in Kampala, Uganda. Onsinyo’s love for sonic and visual culture is evident in her music, which is inspired by elements of music from a variety of cultures. 

With this knowledge, she is meticulous in every film placed in her hands coupled with theatre.

However, one of the warmest things about her is that she gives of her time, money, food, and knowledge without restraint. It is as though she were sowing a seed and the harvest is for an unforeseen future. Her investment in the less fortunate, particularly children with special needs is amazing. Come rain or sunshine, long or short distance, Onsinyo will do whatever it takes to educate as well as mingle with these jewels and their parents. Using her amazing talent, she delivers nuggets and wisdom to them through her ANgaza (illuminate or shine a light upon) sessions.

When it comes to charity, many of us wait for the time of plenty. Rather than wait when all is stable and rosy, Onsinyo purposes to give back to the community today. She knows that God supplies all she needs thus goes out in boldness. She challenges us to use our work, mind and body for the betterment of our communities rather than just recognition and awards.

In her ANgaza session, Onsinyo engages those with psychosocial difficulties by rendering psychological and social support to parents, guardians and families of children with special needs.

She has worked with these children for a while and it was during some of these interactions that Onsinyo realised that while everyone is advocating for them, no one was giving the parents help. That is mainly the mothers whom the husband and relatives often shy away from and give up on. That forces them to remain secluded, weathering the burden of taking care of their child. That is also because there is no professional help to help them cope. Many times, it is out of reach or too costly to afford. Consequently, a child who should have talked with a little speech therapy ends up using sign language and one who would have walked is confined to a wheelchair. That is coupled with the mental distress that the caretaker suffers.

In regards to parents, apart from showing them that someone cares, the sessions help them stop feeling like victims of circumstances but survivors. As such, they are actively and eagerly involved in caring for the child. It is giving them strength and hope that they are not alone.

Such is what Onsinyo lives for- offering help and rectifying the wrongs.