The chairman of the Kenya Society for the Deaf, Francis Ng’ang’a has warned parents who have children with hearing impairment that they risk being arrested and charged if they don’t enrol them in schools.
Ng’ang’a said the association will work closely with administration officers and police to apprehend parents who deny their deaf children a chance to access education. He said parents are to blame, as they tend to hide their children away from the society for the fear of ridicule and stigmatisation. “It’s sad that these children are denied opportunities to go to school and learn despite there being so many schools which cater for them in the country,” the chairman said.
Speaking at Murang’a School for the Hearing Impaired when he commissioned a learning block, Ng’ang’a said no such child should be denied an opportunity to go to class. “Any parent who is unable to enrol their children in a special school should come to the society for help because we have a commitment to ensure all deaf children get educated,” he said.
He said deaf children coming into the country from neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, Botswana and Tanzania are being enrolled in Kenya’s special schools. “Yet so many local deaf children are still at home,’ he said.
He said the society will no longer beg parents to educate their children and will henceforth be pressurising them to the extent of forcing them legally to take their deaf children to school. “It is the right of every child to be educated regardless of their disabilities,” Ng’ang’a said.
He regretted that most of these children have huge potential which cannot be unleashed if they are kept at home. “Educating these children is the only way to secure their future and help them lead independent lives,” he added.
The former Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary general appealed to the society to embrace children suffering from disabilities and to support them as they try to live normal lives. “The society holds a very negative perception towards people with disabilities but I think it’s time to embrace them so that they can feel appreciated,” he added.