Children living with disability from next year will have a chance to join reputable secondary schools following a pact by Kenya Reinsurance Corporation, Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) and Ministry of Education that seeks to promote inclusion and opportunity for students living with disability. The 32 million project dabbed ‘Niko Fiti PWDs Education Integration Program’ will see modification of the schools facilities to ensure access, mobility and integration of students with various disabilities in the institutions.
For a start, the project will kick off in two National Secondary Schools, namely Lenana School and Moi Girls Secondary School, Isinya. Additionally, a percentage of the funds will go to the refurbishment of St. Mary’s Children’s center for the disabled, and provision of assistive and mobility devices to over 1300 Persons Living with Disability (PWDs) across the country.
Lenana School will benefit from refurbishment of student’s cubicles and sanatorium, Washroom facilities and construction of a rump at the school clinic. The construction will commence immediately after conclusion of the assessments. Integration has principally to do with proximity and opportunities for social interaction, while inclusive education advocates for full membership and conjoint participation with peers at all levels of education.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony, Kenya Re MD, Mr. Jadiah Mwarania said that education is the key driver to success, “Niko Fiti, our flagship CSR project has been focused on awareness and assistance to PWDs. We feel that it is timely to focus our attention to Education. Once we address inclusion from an early age, it will scale to economic and social activities.”
“We want to make the school environment conducive for all persons. PWDs in schools should feel the same as the other students. Therefore, it is our hope that together with our partners we will advance this further in the coming months.”
The Ministry of Education’s Inclusive Education programme has been boosted by Kenya Re’s Niko Fiti PWDs Education Integration program. The ministry is targeting a total of 80 schools across the country including Lenana School and Moi Girls Isinya. The ministry is calling for more partnerships and support to make the project a success.
The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Special Education Dr. Richard Belio Kipsang who officiated the event said that the initiative is expected to accommodate the physically disabled and make it easy for them to access the school facilities.
“Through the strong support of the Ministry of Education by the integration program this initiative will help the PWDs to be less dependent while moving from point A to B within the school” Dr. Kipsang said.
Since its inception in 2011, Niko Fiti has touched and changed the lives of over 4000 persons living with disability in different counties across Kenya, through the provision of assistive and mobility devices. The campaign in 2017 will operate under four touchpoints namely:
- National Secondary Schools Facelift to allow for students with disabilities accessibility and management.
- Upgrade of St. Mary’s Children’s home for children living with disability. To give the home a facelift that will involve installing a well-equipped Kitchen, a play arena and a living area. Additionally, supporting the child care services such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and various mobility aids that could help the children move around easily.
- Distribution of Assistive Devices to persons with disability in various counties with APDK assistance in identifying, assessing and registering persons with disability in those regions who shall benefit from mobility and assistive devices.
- Partnership with Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE). The Corporation will adopt Block F which includes a physiotherapy space for different people with disability, a gym, a children’s play area and a hydrotherapy pool to relieve discomfort and promote physical well-being
The campaign has traversed the whole country through caravans in the last four years, with a dedicated team that issued the various devices. The Campaign aims at complementing efforts towards eradication of stigma associated with disability in the various counties.
The Standard Media Group is the campaigns official media partner charged with the responsibility of awareness creation through their various media platforms.
“The physically disabled have great potential we only need to support them and show them that they are equally important to the society.” Says APDK CEO Mr. Gideon Muga.