Lyone Story...From Exclusion to Inclusion

Tuesday 12 December 2017

By Benson Ewoi

Children with disabilities participate in class

LYONE is two and a half years old, and lives in the remote Naotin Village, in Kenya’s north-western Turkana County. Lyone lives with his parents, and four siblings—out of the family of seven, three live with a disability, Lyone included.

Lyone was born with clubfoot—a fairly common birth defect that can be simply addressed (oftentimes without the need for surgery) if identified early. Over 1,000 Kenyan children every year are born with clubfoot.

Lyone’s parents noticed his clubfoot when he was one-year old and beginning to stand—but they were unable to take him to the best local hospital for treatment, due to lack of funds to cover the transportation costs.

Without treatment, clubfoot poses more serious challenges as the child grows up, making walking painful, and limiting their opportunities through to exclusion by society.

Save the Children’s From Exclusion to Inclusion programme funded by Christian Blind Mission (CBM) referred Lyone to be assessed by an orthopaedic technician, following which he was recommended for orthopaedic surgery. The programme covered the costs for surgery, following which Lyone received follow up clinical support through a combination of Community Based Rehabilitation, and orthopaedic clinics. Lyone is now walking, and is ready to start school, once he reaches the age of three.

“We have genetic inheritance disability—at least one in four children in our family has disabilities. The neighbours discriminated us and called our children names. The family was regarded cursed.

“Save the Children have done a great job to correct the disability of Lyone—it has changed the community’s perceptions, from [disability] being a curse, to [it being] a medical condition, that can be corrected,” says Lyone’s father, Jacob, who also has a disability.

It cost approximately 103,200 Kenyan Shillings (circa $1,000 USD) to cover all costs for Lyone to undergo surgery—including travel, accommodation, surgery, follow up rehabilitation, as well as ministry staff costs.

Without surgery, his future would likely not include school, and thus employment. A formally employed and educated Kenyan contributes, on average, 92,000 KES in taxes per annum (~$900), illustrating the significant contribution an individual with a disability can make over their lifetime, if investment is made.

Project Information:
Save the Children has been delivering the CBM funded ‘From Exclusion to Inclusion’ programme in Turkana County between 2015-2017. 2,523 children with disabilities have been directly supported.

The programme has: raised awareness of the rights of children with disabilities; built capacity within ministry teams on identification, referral and corrective procedures; provided aids, surgical and rehabilitative support to children; and advocated for accountable county budgets for children with disabilities, and effective implementation of laws. The programme has
⦁ Successful advocacy for the creation of the Turkana County Disability Act 2017
⦁ Seen a 1000% increase in enrolment and attendance of children with disabilities in one school.
⦁ Seen a 97% increase in number of children with disabilities identified by community health teams.

For more information, contact Save the Children Kenya’s Director of Programme  Development and Quality, Jane Mutua: jane.mutua@savethechildren.org