NGOs call for inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education

By Kennedy Okonbo

Activists of People Living with Disability (PWDs) have called upon the national government to facilitate all the public learning institutions to allow kids living with disability to have equal learning opportunities as others.

This comes after the government allocated Sh0.85 billion for the Uwezo Fund which is aimed at empowering women, youths and PWDs.

Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) coordinator Nyanza region Orpa Ogot who was speaking at an event that brought together pupils living with disability in Kuria, explained that the act of separating pupils living with disability lowers their self-esteem and makes them feel isolated and inferior.

“The pupils living with disability should learn with others in the same classrooms after the conditions in our public schools are improved, the ones who should go to special schools are those living with extreme disability and cannot integrate with others. It really hurts at tender age to learn that you are born different with others,” said Ms Ogot.

She continued, “It is sad that a section of parents have also kept their kids living with disability away from the public. What parents and the public need to understand is that living with disability is not a curse, it is a condition that can face anybody either in childhood or in adulthood.”

Her sentiments were also echoed by Migori County Deputy Commissioner Dr Cornellius Wamalwa saying that all the kids should be given equal opportunities to learn.

“Parents are the number one enemies of the children living with disability; they are not lesser persons in the society and should have a chance to exploit their talents. In the world today people earn millions from talents,” he pointed out.

Currently in the Nyanza region, there are 2050 pupils living with disability according to the Ipsos research and of that, LCD has managed to take only 1448 pupils to school.

“We are training section of teachers on how to handle the pupils living with disability before we allow them to admit them, we have so far trained teachers from Migori, Kuria, Mbita, Siaya and Kisumu,” said Sammy Oluoch, LCD project coordinator.

There are currently over 500 teachers trained on the ways of handling pupils with disability.