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Special Needs Schools Sports gaining momentum, Need for Affirmative Action

Society demonstrates appreciation of its diversity by embracing students with special needs despite their physical and mental challenges.

The Director Field Services and Co-Curricular Activities in the Ministry of Education Mr Nelson Sifuna says special sports have grown over the years winning acceptance by the general public slightly short of other regular sports.

“This year’s First term National Special School’s Sports competition will be held in Nakuru High School starting Saturday April 6, 2024 with a clinic for referees to offer refresher course on rules and regulations governing sports in Kenya,” Mr Sifuna said.

According to the programme for the events, different teams from the eight regions in Kenya will arrive on Sunday April 7 ahead of the action days from April 9 to 12, 2024 and departure scheduled for April 13, 2024.

This year’s special sports national event marks the 20th edition of special schools’ participation, thanks to government funding worth Sh17.5 million for both special needs Primary and Secondary schools in Kenya.

There will be a procession in the streets of Nakuru town on Sunday morning to curtain raise the important event that will lead to eventual recognition and awards for the winners on the April 11 and 12, 2024 at the same venue.

Director Sifuna welcomes sports fans and the general public to show up in large numbers to support and motivate their differently abled sisters, brothers, daughters, sons and friends from special schools matching what is witnessed in other regular sports arenas in the country and beyond.

“Special learners are just like other learners and require support in order to mainstream their equal participation in normal activities without discrimination,” said Mr. Sifuna.

Despite the milestones in attracting more participants, special school’s sports are characterized by underfunding due to lack of sponsorships from well-wishers, corporates or international organizations to facilitate purchase of sports equipment for special sports which are very expensive to procure.

The director extended an appeal to sponsors especially those who do not get the chance to sponsor the regular sports and are locked out to mind the special sports since they are human too adding they should do so in the spirit of equality and affirmative action in education and sports.

Among the co-curricular activities for special schools will include among others rugby under 15s, Athletics, Basketball, Hockey, Handball, Cross Country and swimming.

The special school’s sports participants vary in various categories including the physically and mentally impaired, visually and hearing impaired, hearing and those living with autism.

The special school’s sports will be held concurrently with regular sports to take place in different regions in the country where Embu will play host to President Dr William Ruto who will be the chief guest in the Ministry of Educations first term co-curricular activities that will culminate with the State Concert on April 18, 2024.

By Joseph Kamolo Mutua

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