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ISSUE 101, September 1-30, 2014

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

Boost for Siaya children as fund is launched By OMONDI GWENGI What happens in childhood may set the stage for everything that follows: whether or not a child is physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively healthy throughout childhood and adulthood. Research indicates that early childhood development is a critical stage in human development and that investments in early childhood can pay very large dividends over the lifespan. It is for this reason that Child Fund in partnership with other stakeholders have embarked on a one year project dubbed ‘Integrated Early Childhood Development for Infants and Young Children’. According to Daniel Rabok, Child Fund programme officer, the project to be implemented in three counties will focus on three components of a child’s development. “Our project is going to be implemented in Siaya, Homa Bay and Kisumu counties with a focus on early childhood development education, civil registration and healthy living for the children,” said Rabok. Child Fund decided to implement the project in areas where children were vulnerable to issues revolving around HIV and Aids in order to ensure that the health as well as development

of a child is appropriate at both household and school level. Speaking during the launch of a KSh.3.5 million Early Childhood Development Education centre at Nyayo Primary School in West Yimbo, Siaya County, Rabok urged area residents to support the initiative for the future of their children.

Standard

According to UNICEF Education Specialist, Oscar Kadenge, they are looking at the holistic development of the child and assured stakeholders that they will continue working together with communities to promote education standards and life of children. In reiterating these sentiments, Mercy Otieno of African Network for the Prevention and Protection of Child Abuse and Neglect’s (ANPPCAN) called on parents to take their children to school at an early age. “We have been experiencing cases of indiscipline in some of our schools because some parents wait until their children are past the stage of being taken early childhood education,” said Otieno. On her part Christine Oyuu, Siaya County Executive for Education, Gender, Youths and Sports regretted that 50 years after independence, some parents are still being reminded to

Youth enjoying a retreat during school holidays where they played games and were taught life skills. Photo Odhiambo Orlale. take their children to school. Oyuu called on the community to support development partners. The event was attended by Siaya County Director of Children Affairs, Humphrey Wandeo, Bondo Sub-County Education Officer Mary

Oichoe, and Member of Siaya County Assembly for West Yimbo, Willys Okoth among other local partners who noted that there are a lot of negative influences along the beaches. They called on communities to protect children from all forms of exploitation.

Strategic plans set for Meru children plead with girls living with disability Queen Elizabeth over ban By JESSE SIKALI There is hope for girls living with disability in South Nyanza after a non-governmental organisation came to their rescue. Leonard Cheshire Disability has taken as its major project to champion for the rights of girls living with disability and mobilise their parents to ensure that they access education in their respective villages.

Pilot

Led by Orpa Ogot, a project manager with the organisation, Leonard Cheshire has set up a pilot project in Karachuonyo, in Homa Bay County to help remove barriers that hinder education for disabled girls who face a myriad of challenges in their quest for basic and higher education. “The organisation has set up a pilot project to help foster education for the disabled girls who are facing rejection and

many challenges including rejection by the society they live in,” Ogot explained. The organisation has come up to help girls living with disablity get quality education in five counties namely Migori, Homa Bay, Siaya, Kisii and Kisumu. “Our organisation will work towards ensuring that school fees for disabled girls is paid and other basic needs like clothing, food, wheelchairs and crutches are given to them in order to boost their morale and also help them access education,” said Ogot.

Neglect

According to Leonard Cheshire, Kuria region has a bigger number of girls living with disability who are neglected by relatives and the society at large. According to Fredrick Waisiku, a participant at the Forum, some of these girls are

locked up indoors by family members due to stigma. Leonard Cheshire plans to provide a decent livelihood and enable about 2,300 girls living with disabilities in 50 primary schools in the lake region receive quality inclusive primary education. The project’s main objective is to train education officials, relevant policy makers and media to uphold the rights of the disabled girls. It will also train 100 representatives of other local organisations. They also plan to improve accessibility to 50 primary schools in the region. Leonard Cheshire is targeting 1,000 parents to meet the needs of disabled daughters and advocate for their rights. “The organisation will also build capacity of community resource workers to support disabled girls access primary education,” observed Ogot.

By TITUS MURITHI

Students from St. Lucia primary school in Igembe South in Meru County are worried that they may not complete their education if their parents’ only source of livelihood is taken away. The children are now appealing to Queen Elizabeth of England to intervene and have her Government rescind the ban to import miraa (khat) into her country. The same children also through their poem, requested President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene as Head of State to make sure miraa is not banned in the United Kingdom. Through the poems recited in English and Kiswahili the pupils said miraa is the lifeline of their community and everything which is accorded to them by their parents like school fees, food,

clothing and health care among other things are courtesy of miraa.

Poem

“Miraa is our cash crop as it is the provider of everything in our region. Without miraa there is no education, no food, no health and no school fees for us. We are pleading with your Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England to have mercy on us,’ the pupils recited. They noted: “Without miraa we shall remain poor children without education and health care among other things. Our majesty Queen Elizabeth of England, have mercy on us. Our Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta we plead with you to have mercy on us. Without miraa there is no food, no shelter and no health.” The children recited the poem at a miraa farmers’ meeting held at Maili-Tatu

grounds in Igembe Central recently. The farmers were led by led by Dave Ntawa Muthuri, chairman Kenya Miraa Farmers and Traders Association (KEMIFATA) and Mike Mutembei Makalena a prominent business man who was the guest of honour.

Plea

Miraa farmers also requested Queen Elizabeth to prevail upon her government to reverse the decision of banning the green crop in her country. They noted that the Queen has a very cordial relationship with Kenya remembering that she became Queen while in Kenya and not far away from where miraa is grown. The farmers organised the meeting to determine the way forward after the miraa case which had been filed in London by Meru politicians was defeated.

Disabled persons suffering discrimination from public transport By OMONDI GWENGI Persons living with disability in Siaya County have called on the government to review its order of the ban of rack tops on passenger service vehicles to ease transport for those with wheelchairs. Led by Joseph Kwanya Adongo, Chairman Siaya County Network for Persons with Disability, they lamented that the directive to remove rack tops on all public service vehicles has

greatly affected them since movement for those with wheelchairs has been very difficult. “The Government through the National Transport and Safety Authority should review the order to allow passenger vehicles provide the facility for such people where they can put their wheelchairs when they want to travel form one point to another,” explained Adongo. He noted that due to the ban, persons living with disability are now

confined within their localities because they cannot move from one point to another and are at times forced to hire private means of transport which is quite expensive.

Mandatory

Adongo also asked the Government to consider making it mandatory for those operating passenger ferries and motor boats on the Kenyan water bodies that any person with disability must be provided with life-

saving jackets before travelling over the water. “This will assist in averting loss of lives in case of any lake tragedy where persons with disability are the ones who are likely to suffer most,” Adongo noted. According to Margaret Oketch, representing persons living with disability in the Siaya County Assembly persons with disability are being used to traffic drugs in the area. “It has also come to my attention

that some people in this area are using persons with disability to commit numerous crimes,” said Oketch who has instructed Usenge Officer Commanding Station to investigate a case that alleges a disabled person has been selling drugs in the town. However, the police boss has not conducted any investigation into the matter with some residents’ alleging that they usually collect money from the said disabled and other drug peddlers to protect them.

Reject Online Issue 101  

The Reject Online is a monthly publication of the Media Diversity Centre, a project of African Woman & Child Feature Service

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