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Murang’a Assembly expresses concern for disabled people’s welfare

Murang’a County Assembly has raised concern over the challenges being faced by persons living with disabilities, especially in their right to access education.

In a report tabled before the House by MCA for Gaturi ward, Gathee Wa Njeri, on the welfare of PWDs, it was revealed that their right to education faced many challenges and if not promptly addressed, majority of them would be shut out of formal education.

Wa Njeri said that there are no specialised schools to cater for formative stages of education for people with disabilities in the county.

“Basic education, specifically early childhood education provision, is mandated to devolved county units that should ensure every child accesses education,” said Wa Njeri, a member of Youth, Culture, Gender and Social Services Committee.

According to the report, the county lacks special early childhood education centers where children who are differently abled could be enrolled and have their unique challenges identified early enough for specialised care and education.

Wa Njeri observed that in majority areas within the county, differently abled children were forced to attend classes with fully abled children and thus they were denied the care, attention and facilities they require.

According to the report on data provided by the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) of Youth, Culture, Gender and Social Services, Murang’a County has a total of 5,076 individuals who are registered with the National Council for Disabled Persons.

The figures are distributed in subcounties as follows: Kiharu 990, Gatanga 956, Kandara 850, Maragua 820, Kigumo 560, Kangema 530 and Mathioya 370.

Wa Njeri said Social Development officers and welfare officers at the county and sub county levels work in conjunction with the area chiefs to identify, record and process registration of PLWDs.

“I urge every MCA to sensitise their people on the importance of being registered with the relevant body,” he said, adding once registered, they are then referred to County Hospitals for assessment.

The committee observed that the county lacks specialised vocational training centres where PLWDs could go and acquire skills for self-employment or even for employment purposes.

“There are some people with minimum challenges and they can engage in technical activities like plumbing, hair dressing and tailoring, among others,” he said, adding that these talents ended up not being utilised because there are no centres where these talents could be tapped, enhanced and then released in the market.

MCA for Nginda John Mwangi, while supporting the motion, observed that there was no policy framework that was guiding people with disabilities.

“We will work hard to ensure that PLWDs get better services in order for them to realise their full potential,” he said.

Mwangi urged his fellow MCAs to make sure that PLWDs in their wards are registered in the relevant programmes in the county so that they could benefit from the services being offered.

The report recommended that the County Department of Social Welfare should sensitise and facilitate assessment of persons with disabilities and update their database in line with the current subcounties.

Other recommendations were that, together with CECM in charge of Trade, the welfare officers should identify sections of various markets within the county, rehabilitate them to be user-friendly to persons who are differently abled, and assign them to entrepreneurs with disabilities to carry out their businesses.

Further, the committee recommended that the CECM in charge of Youth Affairs, Culture and Social Services initiate a collaboration agreement with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to address the welfare of persons with disabilities in the county as per provisions of Persons with Disabilities Act.

Article 54 of the Constitution enumerates the rights granted to persons with disabilities, which include, among other rights, the right to access educational institutions and facilities for persons with disabilities that are integrated into society to the extent compatible with the interests of the person.

By Anita Omwenga

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