It is estimated that 1.3 million children in Kenya between the ages of 0-15 years have disabilities. Disability is not inability. This is a term that has been used for so many years but there are still cases of parents/guardians who lock their children up since they are disabled. This is caused by many factors that include cultures, religions, discrimination by the community or the need for the parent/guardian, who are sometimes single, to leave the children behind and find jobs.
We would like to recognize the parents, teachers and all the people who have embraced the disabled children and understand that they can attend school like normal children. One such person is a volunteer of Macheo, Stefanie. She has been visiting schools, getting support for Macheo education program that have a special education class. They are; Garrisa Road primary school, Gatunyanga primary school, Kuraiha primary school, Ndula primary school and Mugumo-ini primary school.
Stefanie has been working with different stakeholders in trying to improve the situation in these schools and create awareness about the disabilities and that these children exist, stand up for the vulnerable children and voice the rights of these children. Stefanie has started a support group for the special need teachers to share knowledge and problems. She has been buying materials needed in these schools and shares much knowledge with the teachers for the benefit of the children. She has been working on daily schedules with the teachers that will see them develop individual plan for the disabled children who can hopefully be introduced on vocational training.
Stefanie has also been involved in;
- The rotaractors went to Thika town for a flyer-action to bring awareness amongst the community.
- Advise the teachers the importance of pre-vocational training for the kids.
- Introducing new volunteers to work/train and buying materials on the Autism project at Mugumoini Primary School and they are; Sanne from the Netherlands, Rotaractors from the UK and Helen from the UK.
Some of the challenges being faced in the schools are;
• Enrolment in school of Children with Disabilities is very low
• Limited number of special schools and Special Needs Units
• Communities are not adequately involved
• Lack of policies and support for Children with Disabilities
• Limited information on the extent, nature and status of Children with Disabilities in Kenya
Stefanie, however, made some observations on the following in the schools visited.
- Teachers are very dedicated
- Teachers are working closely with the parents
- The schools are limited financially and in resources that could help the children
Some of the disability being focused in these schools is Autism, Mild handicapped (retardation), slow learners and children with speech problems.
Stefanie has been visiting other schools and government institutions to get as much information to share with the teachers. Stefanie is a volunteer who has been with Macheo Children’s Centre for 2 months. She is a social worker with vast experience of working with disabled people in Netherlands. We appreciate all the volunteers who visit us and share their knowledge, time and resources all to achieve our vision.
Currently in Kenya, Persons With Disabilities were integrated in a corporate social act by Kenya Re as they launched the ‘ Niko Fiti’ campaign in collaboration with the Standard Group as the program media partner. Read more on that http://www.grassroots.co.ke/news/kenya-re-launch-niko-fiti-campaign.html
For more information on how Macheo is doing on disability, visit our website www.macheo.org