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Catholic Education Facility in Kenya Launches Manual to Foster Disability Awareness

People with disabilities at the launch of the disability awareness handbook. Credit: ACI Africa

A Catholic education facility in Kenya’s Ngong Diocese has launched a handbook aimed at fostering awareness about people living with disabilities in view of addressing cases of “unequal and discriminatory treatment” amid COVID-19 challenges.

Launched on Wednesday, September 22 in Kenya, the manual is an initiative of the Orione Community Training Centre, a project of the Sons of Divine Providence Community (Orionine Fathers).

The Training Centre partnered with the Embassy of Chile and Strathmore Law Clinic to spearhead a four-day workshop that concluded on August 5, leading to the handbook published under the title, “Persons Living with Disabilities and their Rights.”

Speaking on behalf of Strathmore Law Clinic during the September 22 launch of the manual, the Secretary General of the Nairobi-based institution acknowledged the collaboration that has resulted in the publication.

“We as partners recognized that COVID-19 has increased the vulnerability and risk of people with disabilities; during the pandemic, they have faced even more unequal and discriminatory treatment,” Tessy Wachira said.

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Ambassador Embassy of Chile to Kenya H.E. Maria Alejandra Guerra Ferraz (Centre), on her left, Fr. Alejandro Ruiz Yanez, Director Orione Community Training Centre and Dr. Peter Kwenjera Mwangi, Dean Strathmore University school of law, during the launch of the handbook. Credit:ACI Africa

Because of exposure of people living with disabilities, the Secretary General of Strathmore Law Clinic added, “we approached the Embassy of Chile and they were gracious to join our partnership. We took it upon ourselves to fill this gap by conducting an awareness campaign on the rights of people with disabilities.”

“The workshop training, which was conducted both virtually and physically, involved experts from all over the world in the field of rights of people with disabilities who spoke on the topics highlighted in the manual,” Ms. Wachira further said

Some of the experts that were part of the initiative included policy makers, caregivers, nurses, and law enforcement officers, among others.

The objectives, Ms. Wachira said, were to create legal awareness on the rights of differently abled people, to sensitize key stakeholders in society such as government, to train people on the provision of legal and development of a manual containing various guidelines to protect the rights of people living with disabilities.

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There were also social media campaigns, the Secretary General of Strathmore Law Clinic said, and explained, “The aim of the campaign was to debunk myths and misconceptions about them and to sensitize the public on the dos and don’ts when interacting with persons with disabilities.”

In an interview with ACI Africa, the project manager at Orione Community Training Centre described the initial part of the initiative as having “been a success not because of the partners involved but because of the high response we received from the participants of this workshop. Over 250 persons, attended it online and in person.”

“On this day, we are here to celebrate and officially close a project that we have been implementing for the last one month in partnership with Strathmore university school of law and the embassy of Chile here in Kenya,” Richard Magana told ACI Africa Wednesday, September 22, adding, “As a project manager, I can say the project has been a success.”

The task force that spearheaded Disability awareness workshop that led to the launch of the handbook. Credit: ACI Africa

Mr. Magana encouraged interactions with people living disabilities saying, “Once you see a person with disability, you interact with them, and you feel their day-to-day challenge, which is the first step to increase their lives.”

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“We need to lobby and realize the rights of the persons with disabilities,” the project manager at Orione Community Training Centre said.

He added, “If it's there in the village where a parent is hiding this child because of the stigma, the stereotype, let us motivate them to bring the children out to institutions where they can get help.”