Disability Inclusion for Every Last Child...Jacinta's Story
Jacinta was born with polio, meaning her legs did not develop properly. She was four years old when her father threw her our of the family home. Abandoned because of her disability, Jacinta was taken in by a Pastor and his wife, who made sure Jacinta went to school.
One of the biggest challenges in treating disabled children in Kenya is that they’ve previously been hidden from view. Disabled children are often, at best, kept inside, at worst they are abandoned by parents, who often feel disability is a curse.
Save the children with funding from CBM (Christian Blind Mission) is supporting the Turkana County health teams to ensure children with disabilities are referred for treatment. Whether the treatment is surgery, physical therapy or children being provided with prosthetic limbs, Save the Children through CBM support pays for the entire treatment plus transport costs for the parent to bring the child to hospital.
Through the project, we also rehabilitate schools to make them wheelchair friendly, provide parents with life skills which lead to economic opportunities and run radio debates to reduce stigma and ensure families are bringing their disabled children for treatment.
Save the Children supported Jacinta by providing her with prosthetic legs and ensuring her school is accessible.
“I’ve just finished secondary school. My exams went well. I’m planning to start a computer course in January.”
“I’ve grown out of my old legs. They are too small for me now and are quite painful to use. I have some new ones ordered, (through Save the Children).
“I want to study law in the future. I want to show that disabled people can be appreciated. I want to help other disabled people, because we are always neglected. People think we are a curse on the family and that we can’t work. That’s what my father thought. I haven’t seen him since he threw me out.”
“Everyone should be given the chance to display their talents and be accepted, like other children. Everyone should be given a chance. Like me, I can sing, I’d like to go to Eldoret to record music. I sing Gospel, every Sunday, it’s a comfort. I have the loudest voice.”
Save the Children’s Every Last Child Campaign is about the children you never see or hear from. Ignored, desperately poor, left behind. The world chooses to ignore them because they’re girls, because they live in the ‘wrong’ place or belong to a minority ethnic group, because they have a disability, or because poverty or conflict has left them without a home.
Save the children with funding from CBM is supporting the County teams in Turkana to conduct community based rehabilitation outreaches under the disability mainstreaming project. The main objective of the project is to increase access of children with disabilities in Turkana County to interventions by government and non- governmental organizations that address their persistent exclusion from education, health, and social services.
Discrimination is deadly. Every child should have an equal chance, no matter who or where they are.