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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Sipili School for the Deaf, ‘‘Walk for a bus’’

By Bett Kipsang’
The Sipili School for the Deaf have started a fundraising campaign to solicit funds to buy a school bus. The School, located in Sipili division of Laikipia west was started in the year 2006 and its is the only registered school for the deaf in Laikipia County. The institution has a population of 80 learners, enrolled all through infant classes to class eight and vocational training. The catchment covered by the school includes Laikipia, Samburu, Baringo, Nakuru and Nyandarua counties.
Objective of the walk
Sipili school for the deaf is equipped with 8 professional teaching staff, peace corp volunteer and 8 subordinate staff, who strive to give the best to the learners in spite of the challenges associated with limited resources and the nature of special needs for the deaf learners.
Walk about to be flagged off

The disabled community have different ways of learning, most of the time they use unique signs to communicate and needs more practical and actual study aids to fully understand the environment and gain a wider general orientation across all the curriculum subjects.
‘‘Our institution enrol deaf learners, they learn a lot by seeing and therefore they require allot of travelling’’ said Mr. Wairia Kin, a teacher at the school. ‘‘Outside trips combines all the lessons from different subjects and are more practical and real, hence learning is easy and effective’ added Wairia.
The desire to improve learning among the pupils at the special school prompted the teachers to start a ‘‘Walk for a bus’’ a days walk by pupils and teachers from Nanyuki to Sipili a distance of 250 Km.
Two teachers; Wairia Kin and Mrs Elizabeth Linde an American Peace Corp volunteer came up with the idea which was received well by the schools Head teacher Mr. Godfrey Gikunda and the community.
Mrs Linde a professional social worker have been attached to the school for the past one and a half years, Linde has fully embraced the idea and would be happy to see the school acquire its own bus before her term ends in a year’s time.
The fund raising initiative was kicked off in April, with a series of activities to raise awareness among the community and other stakeholders in government and private sector.
‘‘The bus will also generate revenue for the sustainability of the institution’’ said Wainaina a teacher at Sipili School for the deaf.
The walk which started on 26/5/014 at Nanyuki town involved 10 learners and three teachers from the school.
‘‘The walk was meant to jump start a series of activities to mobilize fund for buying buss’’ said Mr. Wairia. Adding that other strategies includes targeting; individual well wishers, business community, corporate bodies, social institutions like churches and a fund raising event scheduled for July 2014 at the institution.
About the walk
Pupils during the walk
Ten learners were selected to participate in the 250 Km walk alongside 3 teachers and a care taker. They took off to Nanyuki on a hired Matatu on 24th June in readiness to commence a mission to accomplish the dream of owning a bus. On Sunday June 25th, the team congregated at a Nanyuki parish church for mass services where they appealed to the faithful to support their mission.
 ‘‘We received some contributions after prayers’’ said Mr. Wairia. The walk was officially flagged off, at the County education office by the District Education Officer for Laikipia East.
‘‘Before setting off for the journey, we had a thorough walk around Nanyuki streets to sensitize the community and appeal for more donations. We were led by a member of Laikipia County assembly Hon John Nderitu who is representing people with disabilities’’ Wairia said. The day’s journey ended at Narumoru where the caravan put up for a night at the Talent Academy after a warm and cheerful welcome.
Relay form
The pupils walked for 5Km and then they would be lifted by the vehicle and replaced with another team.  The teams on foot carried burners with a fund raising message and they sold cards with 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 denominations.
 On 27th May, the cheerful youths walked around Narumoru town and then set off on the journey along the Nanyuki Nyeri Road, they had a stop at chaka town and did a walk around the small town to enlighten the residence of the needs and aspirations of the disabled community. The day was concluded at the Marry immaculate school with an arousing welcome. The journey was gaining momentum and the participants were enjoying every pit of it.
On Wednesday 28th May, the team made rounds in Mweiga town Nairutia through Kiawara.  The day ended and the team put up for a night at Mugunda Girls, where they were received warmly.
Pupils during the walk
The team arrived at Nyahururu on 29th and after walked through town they proceeded with the journey and spend the night at Muthengera special school. The journey was at the home stretch as the pupils arrived at Kinamba where they were joined in the afternoon by a bigger team of pupils and community members who had gone to receive them.
They arrived at Sipili and had a brief meeting attended by the business community, Member of county assembly Sipili-Olmoran ward Hon. Dancun Ndegwa, The Ward administrator Mr. Keru and teachers.
According to Mr. Wairia Kin, the 250 Km walk achieved a lot. ‘‘First we have created awareness of the existence of the institution and sensitized the community on the importance of educating children with special needs’’ He said. Wairia also said that they have managed to raise 5% of the targeted amount needed to purchase the school bus.
School Principal Mr Gikunda is therefore requesting all friends of disabled /deaf community to assist us to achieve our objective .Bank A/C name –Sipili School for the Deaf, EQUITY NYAHURURU BRANCH A/C 0160162092036 or M-Pesa 0721660174.
Challenges
The entire journey was an adventure to the pupils. However; it was not without some challenges as noted by the teachers and the support team of caretakers. ‘‘some of the members of the community had negative attitudes towards people with disabilities, some even asked why they need a bus’’ said Mr. Wairia.
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