The Nakuru County Women Representative, Liza Chelule has called on devolved units to empower Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) through funding development projects that will benefit the group.
She said there was need for policy change to create equal employment opportunities for PLWDs both in the public and private sector.
The lawmaker who spoke at her offices at the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru plaza when she issued cheques totaling Sh.20 million to 15 associations of PLWDs and 23 youth groups challenged governor Lee Kinyanjui to leverage existing financial facilities to support women and marginalized groups in the county.
The beneficiaries are drawn from all the 11 Sub-Counties within Nakuru.
“A lot more needs to be done to create equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Time has come to focus on the challenges they face and improve on them. We have made some progress but we are not yet there in mainstreaming disability issues,” she said.
Chelule urged private firms to consider employing and empowering persons with disabilities. She also disbursed Sh.3 million bursary cheques to students from needy families.
“In Kenya, about 4.6 per cent of the population lives with some form of disability, including hearing, speech, visual, mental and physical. Ignorance and prejudice have for a long time excluded people with special needs from work,” said the MP.
She hailed the government for establishing and equipping four special Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions to train persons with disabilities.
The Karen Technical Training Institute for the Deaf, St. Joseph Technical Training Institute (Nyangoma), Sikiri Technical Training Institute for the Deaf and Blind and Machakos Institute for the Blind are specifically designed to enhance access by persons with special needs.
Fees for all TVET institutions have also been harmonized to ensure more persons with disabilities gain access.
The institutions are now charging Sh.56, 420 with the government providing Sh.30, 000 while the Higher Education Loans Board offers the balance as loan.
Chelule called on women to form groups which will enable them benefit from the affirmative action fund under her office.
She urged them to take the lead in environment conservation by planting trees during this rainy season.
By Anne Mwale