In Lanet Location of Nakuru East, disability is a problem facing a number of people.
As they limp into Kings Assembly Church compound to exchange ideas on how best to overcome their hopelessness, it is evident they are undergoing a painful moment in their lives.
They come crawling while others walk in holding their epileptic children, yet others step into the compound with crumbling wooden clutches.
A few lucky ones are brought in by well-wishers on creaking wheelchairs.
More than 200 disabled people and their children converge at this building at least once in a month to chart the way forward.
And it is when they start narrating the problems they face that you realise they are a neglected lot and here, disability is like a curse.
Apart from the severe disabilities, some of them have no special identification documents and getting them has proved to be an up-hill task.
“My daughter Ida Gift is suffering from a spinal problem and cannot walk and uses a wheelchair,” said her mother, Ms Rosebella Muhavi.
Ms Muhavi says that maintaining her daughter at Lanet Special School is not easy as she has no money to buy diapers which she requires daily.
As if that is not enough, she is unable to pay for food for her child at the school.
APPEAL TO GOVERNOR
“I’m supposed to pay Sh3,100 per term for food but since I am unemployed and depend on menial jobs like washing clothes, I appeal to Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s administration to set aside funds to buy food for such special cases,” said Ms Muhavi.
Most of the parents who spoke said that transport is another headache for them as children suffering from severe disabilities need special transport to school.
For Ms Hellen Wathoko, her son Justin Mugazia is physically disabled and has never received any bursary for her son’s education at Lanet Special School.
“Every time I ask about the bursary I am referred to the director of national coordination for people with disabilities in Nakuru town but I can’t make it to go there as I have no money for transport,” says Ms Wathoko.
Ms Rachel Njeri’s son, John Thuo, suffers from cerebral epilepsy and autism.
“I sometimes wake up in the morning and as I prepare him to go to school he gets an attack and collapses and is admitted to hospital for one week,” she says.
And the hospital bill is beyond her reach as she spends between Sh3,000 and Sh4,000 to buy drugs to contain the situation.
Ms Njeri said that the child’s father ran away from home moments after the child was diagnosed with epilepsy.
She said that she applied for registration with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in 2016 but her efforts to get the card have been futile.
“Every time I visit the Nakuru office I am told the card is not ready,” she laments.
DISABLED BY ACCIDENT
Mr Samuel Mwangi led a normal life until he was involved in a grisly road accident and lost his two limbs.
“I am now using artificial limbs and I am unable to acquire a wheelchair. The government should set aside funds for the disabled just like the way it has done for the elderly in the national budget,” said Mr Mwangi.
Bishop Margaret Mwihaki and Mr Peter Maina Wambugu a graduate of Special Education at Moi University who is blind have launched an awareness campaign to ensure the disabled in Lanet enjoy life to the fullest.
“We need a proper mechanisms to identify persons with disability in Lanet because they are a neglected lot and are suffering in silence,” said Bishop Mwihaki.
Mr Maina said that some of the disabled people have no birth certificates.
The national chairman of the Association of People with Disability Fredrick Owako says his organisation has a mobile clinic which visits the wards to identify the affected people.
“I would urge them to liaise with the local chiefs’ offices to know when we visit their wards and we shall assist them,” said Mr Owako.