By Muoki Charles (KNA)
Learners with disabilities at Ndiko Special School in Gatundu North constituency, Kiambu County, are happy after the national government built them modern classroom blocks to improve their learning environment.
The classrooms, which cost Sh3 million and were constructed by the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya (NFDK), are expected to not only increase the enrollment of children with disabilities from the area but also improve the learning environment.
The new classrooms are a boost from the squeezed, poorly equipped, and dilapidated facility that the learners were initially using.
The classrooms are part of another three that NFDK has handed over this week in Nairobi and Kirinyaga among other counties, all valued at about Sh14 million.
NFDK Chair Prof. Julia Ojiambo said the completed projects bring the number of all the flagship projects implemented by NFDK to 199.
“These are part of empowerment programs to help children with disabilities access education without the challenges of facilities and classrooms. We expect to roll out the construction of more classrooms targeting needy schools in other parts of the country,” said Ojiambo.
While noting that the government has programs to help children with disabilities access education, Prof. Ojiambo called on parents with such children not to hide them in their homes but to take them to schools.
Her sentiments were echoed by Cecilia Mbaka, a board trustee member at NFDK, who highlighted the environmental and attitudinal challenges that children living with disabilities grapple with and which often result in denying them their right to education.
She called for the implementation of various measures to improve the learners’ access to and participation in education matters.
Mbaka singled out the need to construct ramps, accessible sanitation facilities, and other accommodations that will mitigate the physical barriers that challenge learners living with disabilities from acquiring their right to education.
She said NFDK was committed to supporting individual persons with disabilities with mobility aids, rehabilitative equipment, and vocational tools of trade to enable them to acquire a high-quality life.
Further, Mbaka noted that NFDK will continue to donate funds for PWDs institutions development, lobbying and advocating for the rights of PWDs, and funding various flagship projects to better the lives of persons with disabilities.
“We will continue to engage stakeholders in raising awareness on disability issues. We also carry out advocacy initiatives with a view of bringing changes in legislation, policy making, and also shaping public perception on disability,” said Mbaka.
Parents whose children have been learning at the poorly equipped institution welcomed the new facilities, describing them as a boost from the old facility and would improve the learning environment.
They called on other well-wishers to continue supporting children with disabilities by equipping the schools to enable them to realize their future dreams.
“The former classroom was quite squeezed and dilapidated. However, with the new one, they have a better environment to learn,” said Flora Wambui, one of the parents.
The parents at the same time said the new facilities will improve enrollment of learners, saying that most children with various forms of disabilities are hidden at home over fears of being stigmatized in the community.