A concern has been raised over people living with disability in West Pokot County being marginalized in formal education leading to many lacking the expertise and experience in job opportunities.
Rehab Mission organization that connects disabled persons for support has established that children with disabilities face the longest road to education denying them chance to access jobs and support.
The organization has revealed that 90% of disabled people in West Pokot County have no formal education making it hard for them to do professional jobs
A study by World Vision and Rehab Mission in five wards in West Pokot in 2017 shows that 45% of disabled children in West Pokot County did not step in class.
According to the Rehab Mission Coordinator Mr Tom Mulati, who spoke to the press in Kapenguria raised concern over the physically challenged persons missing in education and it has been a challenge to get the 5% learned disabilities to get employed as required by the constitution.
He said that the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya [NFDK] has been funding disables to engage in activities like welding and tailoring but many lack experience.
“We decided to donate to them goats and bee keeping activities which do not need formal education to handle,” he said.
He noted that in the past, many parents and the whole Pokot community held little hope for significantly enhancing the functioning of individuals with disabilities.
“They believed intellectual disability was static and not dynamic and therefore, nothing could be done to improve the condition of the affected individuals. Consequently, educating individuals with intellectual disabilities was considered as a waste of time and services,” he said..
Mulati pointed out that social stigma and negative parental attitudes to disability which may arise out of religious and cultural beliefs e.g. disability may be seen as punishment.
“Some children face more barriers than others to accessing education: children who are from poor families or live in remote areas, children from ethnic minorities, girls,” he said.
He also noted that children with disabilities face all these barriers and more, especially if they combine several of these characteristics.
Mr Mulati noted that learned disables have more opportunities in employment pointing out that many disabled children in the Pokot community are not exposed in public because of lack of sensitization, lack of will by parents who favor normal children.
“Some children can leave the child in school and be forced to take him back,” he said.
He called on donors and Non Governmental organizations [NGOS] to come in and help the disables to acquire education.
“We need to create equal opportunities in business and education for them,” he said.
He said that the National fund was setting up a school for the blind in North Pokot sub county and adding classrooms at Keringet school.
“The fortune for a disabled person is in future .Many having not received education because they are hidden,” he said.
He urged residents not to hide people living with disabilities hence report any cases of children with disabilities hidden by their families for them to access education and get support.
Mulati said that many children living with disabilities in the area have not accessed education.
“We urge residents to expose those who have been hidden for them to get help .Many are taken as a bad omen in the society while others are being ignored,” said Moroto.
He said that the disabled needs to be identified for them to benefit from bursaries.
“They should be taken to school and be allowed to socialize with others,” he said
Mulati called on the government to set up schools for the disabled in the county adding that the area lacks special schools for disabilities making it hard to access education hence the need to open schools for albinos.