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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Society urged to embrace persons with disabilities


By Ann Kinyanjui

In the world, we have different types of people with diverse abilities. Some are able bodied while others have different challenges. While some have hearing impairment, others are visually impaired and many others physically or mentally challenged.

I want us to focus on these challenges since many people have the notion that being challenged in one way or the other is synonymous to inability. Everyone in the world, the challenges not withstanding has an ability that God has given them.

I recently met a boy whom despite being on a wheel chair could write just like his fellow pupils. Joseph Kamau who joined class one at Sipili primary school in January this year uses his legs to write since his hands are impaired. 

When a book and a pen were placed on a table in front of him, Kamau picked the book with his toes and drew it closer to him. He flipped the cover and several pages to look for some empty space to write on before taking the pen and writing what was dictated to him effortlessly. He then returned the book on the table amidst both applause and shock from fellow pupils, teachers and parents who were present during the school’s class one intake exercise at the beginning of the term.

The staff and the pupils alike, some of whom knew the boy were amazed at his prowess in writing. What surprised them was the fact that his notes were neater than those of his able bodied colleagues.

We congratulate his mother for letting him interact with the society since majority of parents who have children with disabilities lock them up in their houses denying them not only their right to freedom, but also to education, good health and association. 

I also happened to meet Mr. Paul Hiuhu who has been teaching in Lariak Primary school for the deaf. He says his pupils have different talents with several of them possessing dressmaking, carpentry and other artisan talents.

What I came to learn is that disability is not inability and I would urge the society, the government and the development partners to embrace and support persons with disabilities who live among us by ensuring they have equal access and opportunities to resources, education, health and participation in public forums to enable them realize their full potential.
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