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Sh3million classrooms built for disabled pupils in Gatundu

Pupil with disabilities at Ndiko special School, Gatundu North constituency, Kiambu County are a happy lot after the national government built them Sh3 million modern classroom blocks to improve their learning environment.

Constructed through the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya (NFDK), the new classes are also expected to increase the enrollment of disabled children from the area, unlike the squeezed, poorly equipped and dilapidated structures that they were initially using.

The classrooms are part of another three that NFDK handed over this week in Nairobi and Kirinyaga among other counties, all valued at about Sh14 million.

NFDK Chair Prof Julia Odhiambo said the completed projects brings the number of all the flagship projects implemented by the organization to 199 since 2009.

“These are part of empowerment programmes 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 Odhiambo.

While noting that the government has programmes to help children with disabilities to access education, the chair called on parents with such children not to hide them in their homes, but take them to schools.

Her sentiments were echoed by Cecilia Mbaka, a board trustee member at NDFK who highlighted the environmental and attitudinal challenges that children with disabilities grapple with, which often resulted in them being denied their right to education.

Mbaka called for implementation of various measures to improve the learners’ access and participation in education matters.

She singled out the need to construct ramps, accessible sanitation facilities among others, which she said, will mitigate the physical barriers that are a challenge to acquisition of the right to education for learners living with disabilities.

Mbaka said NFDK was committed to supporting disabled persons with mobility aids, rehabilitative equipment and vocational tools of trade to enable them acquire a high-quality life.

She further 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 abled differently.

Some pupils with disabilities at Ndiko Primary school, Gatundu North constituency interact with Trustees of the National Fund for the Disabled Kenya(NFDK) during the opening of new classrooms

“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 hitherto poorly equipped institution welcomed the new facilities, describing them as a boost from the old facility that would improve the learning environment.
They called on other well-wishers to continue supporting children with disabilities by equipping the schools to enable them realize their future dreams.

“The former classrooms were quite squeezed and dilapidated. However, with the new ones, 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.

By Muoki Charles

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