People living with disabilities in Nakuru have reason to hope for a brighter future after the county government launched a disability fund aimed at aiding them start income generating activities.
Nakuru is the first county government to launch and make the kitty operational in the country after the county assembly provided a legal framework to guide the fund.
The kitty intends to use at least Sh278 million to improve and uplift the lives of disabled people in the next three years.
According to Governor Lee Kinyanjui, his administration will continue to advocate for the welfare of people with special needs and ensure they get facilities and services as envisaged in the Constitution.
“The county government has set aside funds which will help people with disabilities venture into business activities hence improving their well-being. We shall also train them on how to wisely spend the funds through countywide sensitisation forums,” Governor Kinyanjui told the Nation on Tuesday.
Already, the county government has dispatched mobility and assistive devices including wheelchairs to disabled people in various parts of the county in conjunction with the National Council of Persons with Disabilities.
To ensure disabled people are treated with dignity, Governor Kinyanjui has further directed the Physical Planning department to treat all construction plans of buildings that lack disability friendly facilities as non-compliant.
“As a country, we must rethink how we treat persons with disabilities in terms of access to public transport and public buildings. A unit within the Department of Social Services will be formed to inspect existing buildings and give notice to those lacking these facilities to comply within a specified period,” he added.
He said his administration will engage the Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya and County Commissioner Erastus Mbui to ensure public buildings comply with the directive.
Most public buildings in Nakuru town, which is also seeking a city status, are built in a way that does not take into consideration specific needs of the disabled.
TRANSPORT FOR DISABLED
Mr Kinyanjui, who is a former National Transport and Safety Authority boss, has further challenged stakeholders in the transport sector to embrace and accommodate people with disabilities by ensuring they travel with ease.
“I urge the public transport sector to rethink about the welfare of PLWDs. We must audit how we treat PLWDs when they are travelling,” said the governor.
Nakuru Gender, Culture and Social Services Chief Officer Abduba Tume also revealed that the county will hire 55 sign language interpreters who will be stationed in all public hospitals across the 11 sub-counties and other public facilities in the region.
Ms Tume also challenged parents of disabled children to effectively play their roles by offering them education opportunities and other social needs.
“Nakuru County government will continue fighting for an increase in capitation for schools handling persons with disabilities. We also want to ensure that all students living with disabilities are given an opportunity for education. A nation that ignores its persons with disabilities and the youth is on the road to destruction,” said Ms Tume.