Invest in Inclusive Education, Young Kenyans urge the government

Kilifi Youth in a meeting

Youths in Kilifi County want the government to continuously invest in inclusive Education for People with Disabilities.

Speaking at a round table meeting with county officials, the youth, led by Pwani Youth Network said a number of schools within Kilifi County have poor infrastructure which are not suitable for children with disabilities.

“In Kilifi County, some children with disabilities are left out or have to travel long distances to access education. For example, children with hearing disabilities have to travel to Kilifi, Kibarani for the school of the deaf. What about those who come from Ganze, or Magarini? It means they will not be able to access education,” said Pwani Youth Kilifi Chapter Chair Jumwa Samuel.

The Youth Collective, consisting of community groups, women groups, and youth groups, has also called for the employment of more teachers in schools for children with disabilities.

“Disability inclusion should be holistic not just building ramps, let them look at ensuring there are pathways for persons who are blind, ensure that there are sign language interpreters,” said Pwani Youth Network CEO Alfred Sigo.

“If we are talking about inclusive education, we want to include all aspects of inclusivity. We want equality in humans to be standard, what I get is what you get. If we start segregating and put schools for different disabilities then those learners will not experience competition among their peers. All schools should be able to offer inclusive packages that cover all disabilities,” said Brian Paul Mulunda from Maisha Youth.

Meanwhile, the youth groups also have listed accessibility, time for services, affordability, behavior and attitude, and lack of commodities as the major challenges they are facing in the health sector.

“As a person living with disability, I am also forced to cue like everyone else. Another challenge is getting medicine, we have to go to the chemists where we have to pay for the drugs. If they could make access to medicine free for us PWDs,” said Mohamed Tsui.

They say some health facilities are also not disability friendly.

“We want to see improved health service delivery and specifically the hospital should have sign language interpreters for persons with disabilities, have pathways and lifts with audio for persons who are blind and lastly have sign language signage across all government buildings and facilities,” said Sigo.

Among their recommendations is government to have a young person on board in the Hospital Budget Allocation committee for youth service allocation and also employ more personnel to meet the growing service demand.

“The health centers are overwhelmed, you have to cue for long. Sometimes you go seeking healthcare services in the morning and end up having to stay in cues until the afternoon whereby your condition might have gotten worse than when you went to the hospital. The more professionals should not only be in hospitals in the urban areas but trickle down to areas like Ganze, Magarini, and others that have marginalized communities,” said Edwin Kiritu from the Kilifi County Government’s Youth Advisory Council for Health.