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Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities have a fundamental right to education, just like any child. But in vulnerable communities where poverty underpins multiple barriers to education, children with special needs are often forgotten. The resources needed to enable their learning and development are not readily available, and are often not prioritised.

In the communities that So They Can partners with in Kenya, it’s all too common to hear about heartbreaking stories of children being abandoned and severely mistreated, due to the myths that persist about disabilities, for example that it is caused by witchcraft.

A recent Government survey indicated that only about 250,000 children with special needs and disabilities  are enrolled in education institutions, even though the prevalence rate in Kenya is 11.4% among children aged between 3 and 21 years old.

So The Can has been providing dedicated support to 2 Special Needs Education (SNE) Units — one at Aberdare Ranges and the other at Milimani Primary Schools in Nakuru. In 2023, Chemolingot School for the Hearing Impaired in East Pokot, Baringo County was also brought on as a new program-supported school in Kenya. They all provide much-needed education services for children with disabilities, who would otherwise largely be disregarded by their communities, schools and the mainstream education system in Kenya, given the stigma and barriers that persist. Our network of Champion Mothers and Fathers work in community sensitisation and are instrumental in working directly with families to ensure that children with disabilities are attending school.

Milimani’s SNE Unit for Learners with Visual Impairments caters for 24 primary-aged learners. 40% of students come from families living in extreme poverty, so their educational costs are supported — and due to the long distances from their homes, they board on the school campus. Most recently, the So They Can’s team in Kenya donated 5 Braille writing machines to ensure that there are an adequate number of machines for the increasing class size.

Receiving the donation the students performed a poem they wrote for So They Can, in which they chanted, with So They Can, oh yes we can — we couldn’t agree more! Click here to watch the full performance.

Since 2018, So They Can has supported the school and its SNE Unit in a number of ways, including the provision of adapted school desks (20); braille writing machines, text books and shelves, an accessible toilet; support towards school fees and school uniforms for students in need; student excursions; provision of sanitary products (under the Keeping Girls in School project) and facilitation of Special Needs Teachers’ learning/benchmarking exercises.

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