Signs TV, in collaboration with various other stakeholders, participated in the Deafblindness Awareness Celebration held on September 1, 2023. This event was organized by Sense International, an organization dedicated to enhancing the well-being of individuals living with Deafblindness. The venue for the event was the Kilimani Integrated Primary and Junior Secondary School in Nairobi, which houses the only deafblindness unit in the nation’s capital. At present, the school provides education and support to 17 students with deafblindness.
Among the notable attendees were representatives from the Commission on Administrative Justice, Sightsavers, the Kenya Society for the Blind, CBM, the Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD), DeafChild Worldwide, and the Kenya Society of Deaf Children, among others.
During the event, the participants, led by Sense International Country Director Richard Mativu, called for increased support for issues related to individuals with Deafblindness in Kenya. National Council for Persons with Disabilities’s Executive Director Harun Hassan, representing the Cabinet Secretary for Labour and Social Protection, Hon. Florence Bore, highlighted a significant gap in the identification of persons with deafblindness, which hampers the collection of accurate data for planning purposes. Notably, Kenya is among the few countries that officially recognize Deafblindness as a disability. In response to this, he pledged the Council’s commitment to lead efforts in registration and provide various forms of support.
As the Government advances its Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, which aims to provide 100 percent health insurance coverage for individuals with disabilities, Harun Hassan emphasized the critical importance of accurate identification. This, he noted, would ensure that the implementation of this policy fully encompasses this vital group, leaving no one behind.
This celebration held particular importance as it served as a tribute to the late Helen Keller on Helen Keller Day, an annual commemorative occasion observed on June 27th in honor of her birth. This holiday was officially designated through a presidential proclamation in 2006 and garners recognition from numerous international organizations, especially those committed to aiding individuals with visual and auditory impairments.
Sense International opted to celebrate this significant day at this time because their plans to do so in June were thwarted by political protests occurring in the country during that period.