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Discrimination, isolation threat to People with Disability

Stigma, isolation and discrimination have remained to be key threats hindering mainstreaming disability amongst Nyamira residents.

Nyamira County National Council for People with Disability (NCPWD) Director, Ms. Lydia Matende observed that majority of residents in Nyamira County have not come out to declare that they have people with disabilities in their household because they still hold to the old cultural belief that begetting a disabled child is a curse and keep that information as top secret from members of the public.

Matende was speaking during the commemoration of International Day for People with Disabilities at Nyairicha special school in Nyamira County.

“Disability stereotypes have left many family members stigmatized and have thus completely isolated their disabled family members from the public for fear that community will discriminate against them since they are under some curse,”

“Those who have publicly declared that they have a disabled member in their homes are discriminated upon and some family members isolate them labelling them leakers of family secrets,” she said.

The NCPWD director noted with concern that building structural engineers in Nyamira County approve new building structures without making it disability friendly in their plan maps.

Once the structure is commissioned, physically disabled people in wheelchairs and the blind are unable to get service offered from such buildings because they are only accessible by the use of stairs.

“When we conduct outreach to register people with disabilities in our County, those who tip us with information about disability cases in particular homesteads always request for anonymity which clearly indicates families with disabled people don’t want that information leaked,” she said.

Matende confirmed that NCPWD had launched a new disability identity card which has security features because the previous card had been abused by unscrupulous Kenyans without any disability, who could make their own card and use it for personal illegal monetary gains like tax evasion.

“The current identification card for people with disabilities will gradually become obsolete because people abused its well-intended mandate. NCPWD launched a new identification card with security features which is issued after the disabled people have undergone a fresh disability medical assessment and their disability approved,” she said.

“People with disabilities will be with us as long as we live, therefore, leaders should prioritize their needs, include them in their planning and budgeting platforms because they are part and parcel of our community and need our love, care, support and empowerment if we value their presence amongst us and stop handling them as a dreaded curse,” she noted.

Nyamira County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Gender, Youths, Sports, Culture and Social Services, Dr. Grace Nyamongo said they are doing their level best to ensure that all the 10 ministries in the county government mainstream PWDs in job and internship opportunities and are well represented in running and developing the county government.

Special elect Member of Nyamira County assembly, Martha Marwa who was also present promised she will push for the review of the Disability Act which is at the draft stage to ensure it is passed as policy so that sufficient resources are allocated during the budgeting stage to implement the disability mainstreaming programmes with ease.

The 2022’s theme of commemorating the International Day of People with Disability is; Transformative solutions for inclusive development; the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.

In this year’s commemoration, stakeholders are propagating the importance of holding human dignity by promoting and understanding of disability types and issues and thereby inform resource mobilization and utilization to support rights of decent living and wellbeing of People with Disabilities. 

By Deborah Bochere 

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