National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya (NFDK) chairperson Ms. Christina Pratt has urged county governments to dedicate some funds in their annual budgets towards improving infrastructure for persons living with disabilities in their regions.
Pratt said inadequate funding of special schools and units complicates the already existing challenges and called for review of the low resources allocated to persons with special needs.
“We therefore call on all the stakeholders to lobby for increased funding to special needs institutions as this will allow them put up accessible facilities which will encourage enrollment,” said the chairperson in a speech read on her behalf by Peter Nyakiamo, a member of the NFDK board.
Pratt made the remarks Friday during the official opening of a dormitory at Wire special school for the mentally handicapped in Rachuonyo south sub county.
The dormitory constructed at a cost of Sh2.5 million is among eight other projects of the same amount, being undertaken by NFDK in various institutions across Nyanza region.
Wire special unit with 86 learners is the third of such institutions in Homa Bay County.
Other institutions in the locality include Nyamuga special school for the physically challenged in Mbita and Ogande special school for the mentally handicapped.
The chairperson said NFDK as a stakeholder in the disability fraternity is keen on implementing and raising awareness on the right to education of children with disabilities.
“Findings from research show enrollment and retention levels of persons with disabilities in learning institutions can improve, if special schools provide supportive facilities like modernized dining halls and kitchen, boarding facilities and well equipped classrooms,” she said in the speech.
Pratt called on everyone to join hands and empower children with disabilities with education saying that is the best sustainable gift we can give them for their future.
The NFDK was set up in 1980, declared the national year for the disabled persons in the country.
The organization is steered by a Board of Trustees appointed by its patron who is the sitting president of the republic of Kenya.
Wire dormitory project is the 9th flagship project to be commissioned in Nyanza, and the 3rd in Homabay County with each project costing Sh2.5 million translating to a total of Sh22.5 million for programmes in the region.
Nationally, Pratt said NFDK is funding a total of 107 projects.
She thanked the national government for annual budgetary allocation to the organization, thus enabling them to sponsor and complete several projects for people living with disabilities in the country.
“The fund is committed in ensuring that persons living with disabilities acquire high quality of life through support,” she said.
The ceremony was attended by former Kitui Senator David Musila who is also a member of the Board of Trustees.
Musila called on parents with children with disabilities in special schools to also encourage other parents to ensure more children in the same category are enrolled in institutions offering specialized learning skills.
He said as member of the board they are moving around to ensure money set aside for projects in special units are spent for the intended purpose.
“We are doing this work on behalf of the government to ensure children with disabilities are protected and resources deployed to support them are well utilized,” he said.
A parent with a child living with disabilities, Walter Odhiambo thanked NFDK and the government for the kind gesture.
“Wire special school has helped our disabled children and as parents we are now finding it easier than before to manage them,” he said.
By Julius Moseti