By Caroline Katana
Kwale County has benefited from four multimillion shillings projects through the National Fund for Disability of Kenya (NFDK).
The NFDK is an endowment fund mandated to enhance the socioeconomic empowerment of persons living with disabilities in the country.
Lukore Integrated Unit for Physically Challenged benefited from dining hall worth Sh2,638,652 million and furnished with furniture at a cost of Sh361,348.
At the same time, Kwale School for the Deaf got a borehole worth Sh2.6 million that were commissioned by NFDK on September 13 and 14, 2023 respectively.
The Kwale School for the Mentally Handicapped benefited from a modern conference hall valued at Sh2.5 million while St Lukes Intergrated Primary School for the Vision Impaired got a dormitory and a kitchen worth Sh2.2 million.
They were all handed over last year (2022) under the funding of this programme started in the 2009/2010 financial year.
Speaking at Lukore during the handing over ceremony at Lukore Integrated Unit for Physically Challenged, the programme committee chairperson Prof Julia Ojiambo confirmed the spending of Sh170 million on different projects for people living with disabilities in each financial year.
“We don’t have enough funds but we are trying our best to deal with emergency cases as fast as possible. We normally spend Sh60m for individual donations each year, small grants of Sh35m is given to teachers for maintainance units properties and also Sh70m for construction of dinning halls and classrooms,” she said.
The chairperson said the NFDK was established in 1980 by the late President Daniel Moi to ensure equal development to every citizen.
“The Fund engages in advocacy through its programmes and also in collaboration with
other stakeholders in raising awareness on disability issues in order to shape public perception
on disability and lobbying for appropriate policies.”
The Fund supports individuals with disabiities with assistive devices and tools of trade towards their inclusion and economic empowerment.
The professor wants the society to end stigmatization of children with special needs.
“The government of Kenya is putting efforts of supporting PWDs so parents should ensure children with disability is registered so as to get the required support from the government as per the Kenyan constitution.”
Lukore Integrated School head teacher Nicholas Pole hailed NFDK for the support saying it would go a long way to change the lives of physically-challenged persons.
According to him the situation was very critical and many a students with such challenges were suffering in many households in the country.
Pole said they received infrastructure and financial help through small grants that assisted the institution in purchasing the required equipment.
He added that in the first round they got Sh700,000 as grants and later the new dining hall and kitchen facility were put up at over Sh2.6 million.
“Things were very tough but we are glad for this support.”
However, Pole called on stakeholders to construct a perimeter wall for the school so as to secure their students in a safe environment.
As it is, the institution has no fence thus, making the students vulnerable, especially the girl-child.
Speaking during commissioning of a borehole at Kwale School for the Deaf valued at Sh2.6 million, the former Kitui County Senator David Musila confirmed NFDK has already implemented 199 projects in various parts of the country.
“Water challenges has come to an end, but I want to confirm to you that NFDK is not satisfied yet, we want to ensure there is water circulation in every corner of this facility.”
The senator called on different stakeholders to come on board to deal with other challenges facing kwale school for the deaf.
“I want to urge the area MP Kassim Tandaza to ensure the school has a bus through the CDF kit and the County Gov Fatuma Achani to assist school administration to complete the perimeter wall for safety of our pupils,” he urged.
Kwale School for the Deaf principal Irene Kimathi praised the project adding that it would address issues of water shortage in the school.
Kwale, according to her, is normally affected by the water crisis because of perennial drought.
Charity Kiilu, a trustee representing state department for social protection in NFDK, said Article 54 of the Constitution was clear on rights of people living with disability urging PWDs to ensure they are registered in the ongoing registration exercise.
The NFDK also commissioned 2 new projects to institutions in
Uasin Gishu County at Sosiani Autistic Primary School Special Unit and Chepkoiya Primary School.