This July I travelled to Kenya to visit AbleChildAfrica partners Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre and Action Network for Disabled Youth (ANDY) in Nairobi.
During the trip I was able to visit 5 primary schools that are taking part in the Inclusive Sports project led by ANDY. Each week sports coaches, trained by some of ANDY’s sports coaches run inclusive games such as sitting volleyball and goal ball with disabled and non-disabled children from the school, and most importantly with disabled children who are not enrolled in school. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm of all the children playing together – which one group expressed by singing at the top of their lungs “Disability is not inability…” a song written to celebrate the project (that is officially stuck in my head!).
I also had the opportunity to speak with teachers during inclusive education trainings delivered by ANDY and AbleChildAfrica. It was an insightful experience to speak with both teachers from mainstream primary schools and those teaching in some of Kenya’s under resourced special schools. During my time in Kenya, I also visited AbleChildAfrica partner Little Rock, and what struck me was the difference in the confidence and ability of children benefiting from an inclusive education there, compared to the children in the special schools. This only reemphasised the importance for advocating for rights of disabled children to an inclusive, quality education that allows them all to reach their potential.
After the trip to Kenya, I hopped on a plane to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to meet Noelah Msuya, the Director of AbleChildAfrica partner Child Support Tanzania. It was lovely to spend time together to learn more about CST – and Noelah’s passion for the children and community is infectious! We also had the opportunity to sit together as a team to plan upcoming projects and initiatives such as developing the playground and carpentry workshop income generating activities.
Another highlight of the trip for me was the opportunity to discuss AbleChildAfrica’s advocacy work with our partners, and to learn more about the approach ANDY, Little Rock and CST are taking to ensure the rights of disabled children are being upheld.
The next fifteen years, with the roll-out of the Sustainable Development Agenda at the UN General Assembly in September, leaders from the local to the global level will have an even greater responsibility to ensure all disabled children receive a quality and inclusive education. Following up from my trip, I look forward to working with ANDY, Little Rock and CST to make sure this happens!