By Kevin Anyonge
People shy and never like to talk about people with disability in open, others think of them like a curse or a misfortune to the society, that’s not the case all were created by the Almighty and they should not be looked upon as burden and isolated, they are our children they need the love and care.
Let’s have a talk on a certain disability that is invisible and has perceived assumptions that persons with this kind of disability blend well with the society. This disability goes by the name intellectual disability which refers to difficulties some people face in learning and often communicating. Typically, present from birth or an early age, persons with intellectual disabilities often require lifelong support.Formely referred to “Mental Retardation’’ people with intellectual disabilities have rejected this label and prefer intellectual disability or development disability.
According to United Nations statistics there are currently over 600 million persons with disabilities throughout the world of whom 400 million live in developing countries and 80 million in Africa. A World Health Organization source maintains that about 40% of Africa’s population consists of people with disabilities, including 10-15% of school-age Children, this percentage would translate into about 300 million people with disabilities in Africa.
In Kenya one organization came to the rescue of the intellectually disabled, Kenya Association of Intellectually Handicapped (KAIH) whose National Coordinator is George Otieno Njoki, working together with IDAY to train the intellectual disabled, KAIH equips self-advocates youths and children with Intellectually Disability with Photography skills and other Trainings. Self-advocates is a term that describes people with Intellectual disability who are informed by the value that this category of persons know and understand very well what is good for them. Self-advocates learn; Camera settings, ways of capturing the subject perfectly like mirrors effect, shadow effect and collage.
During this year’s celebration of the Day of The African Child, persons with disability used this day to do Photo Exhibition to commemorate this day with a view of Accelerating Livelihoods Opportunities for persons with Intellectual Disability through Appropriate training and legislations.
Photo exhibition at CEFA offices Westland by the intellectually disabled trained by KAIH
The Kenya Constitution chapter four the bill of rights, part 3 specific application of rights 54 states that: the state shall ensure the progressive implementation of the principle that at least five percent of the members of the public elective and appointive are persons with disabilities. According to the National Census of Kenya 2009 (KBS) estimate of persons living with Intellectual Disability in Kenya totals 1.2M or 3% of the Kenya population.
Testimony from Self-Advocate
“My name is Jane Akinyi Samia and I am a self-advocate. I live in Umoja Estate Nairobi County. My parents realized that I had intellectual disability when I was still a child. I started my schooling at City Primary School. Later they recommended that I join special school at Nile Road. I did not receive any certificate for my schooling. I would like the ministry of education to consider for our certification and inclusion by transiting to an education system that suits us.Nevertrheless in 2011, vocational training was introduced at KAIH and now I am lucky to be attending a skills training and in December I will earn my certificate in all the units we learnt i.e. baking, tailoring, beadwork, photography, budgeting and hair dressing which is my favourite.Acquiring a job will mean everything to me and my fellow with Intellectual disability. Without job, we are marginalized and we will remain perpetual beggars, which is against our will. Please support us, accept us, and love us the way we are.’
Testimony source: Kenya Association of Intellectual Handicapped (KAIH)
Photo: CEFA Offices Westland, Intellectually disabled who are on training at KAIH