One woman is making a mark in pushing for inclusive education by targeting children with disabilities.
Patience Achieng, who works under Nguvu Change Leaders, is making bold steps in advocating for among others a special budget to assist children with disabilities pursue education
Recently, Achieng met Kenyan Senator Crystal Asige, Senate Parliamentary representative for persons with disabilities and special interest groups to request for support for policies that facilitate specially-abled children to access educational facilities.
Also in the meeting were Member of Parliament Beatrice Elachi and Fredrick Haga who is Director of Education, Directorate of Special Needs at the Ministry of Education.
“During the meeting, I raised the issue of disability inclusion in our education system with both leaders. I emphasised that this is a matter requiring not only a steadfast intention but urgent attention and concrete action. I sought support for specially-abled children and urged them to endorse my campaign,” says Patience.
She has already filed an online petition urging the Ministry of Education and County Governments to develop a system that allocates educational funding for children with disabilities depending on the type and severity of their special needs.
Patience, who experienced a debilitating stroke at the age of 14, suffered a loss of speech and mobility functions. Despite her determined fight to recover her speech, her mobility was severely impacted, necessitating her reliance on a walking aid for movement.
This impairment also challenged her educational aspirations, as she struggled to find affordable institutions capable of accommodating her special needs.
“Many schools lack essential facilities like ramps, accessible restrooms, and inclusive teaching methods. Finding a suitable school was a daunting task, one that no child with special needs should ever face,” adds Patience.
“The administrators should ensure that the curriculum adequately caters to the needs of learners with special educational requirements. There is also a necessity to prioritise advocacy and grassroots mobilisation efforts to sensitise parents and guardians to play a more active role in supporting children with special needs,” says Patience.