Having a disability in Kenya means you are less likely to get an education or learn a skill and more likely to live in poverty and face discrimination.
Children with disabilities are not encouraged to attend school and there is a common belief that they are not capable of learning. Even if they would like to go to school, local schools have little knowledge about providing special needs education, they lack resources and will not take them.
The stigma attached to disability can cause parents and families to hide children away as they are made to feel ashamed of their children. Frequently told that it is their fault or it’s a curse for past actions, they feel alone and unsupported and become isolated from their community and society. With little or no support, they find it incredibly difficult to know about, or get access to whatever little government assistance there is, leading to further isolation and a life of poverty. Around 70% of disabled people in Kenya live in poverty.
This week we are pleased to welcome Gladys to our team. Gladys will be working in the role of Group Facilitator, setting up and facilitating the progress of Disability Support Groups.
As a mum of three children with disabilities herself, she has a lived experience of how isolating life can be due to the lack of opportunities for those with disabilities and the impact people’s negative attitude can have.
Gladys has had experience of setting up and leading a support group having worked with us to start one in her local area which has now grown to over 40 members. She has seen first-hand the positive impact that support groups can have.
As Group Facilitator she will work closely with Area Chiefs, Community Health Workers and other community partners to identify people living with or caring for those with disability and encourage them to join the support group. She will then assist them in the process of registering the group and oversee the progress of the group, helping them to access various support and start community projects.
Our Disability Support Groups provide a fully inclusive space where every member feels accepted and equally valued. Through these groups we aim to educate about disability, empower families, strengthen communities and reduce prejudice and discrimination.
PHOTO: Gladys meeting new members