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Stakes raised as schools competition of students with special needs begin

The 14th edition of the national Kenya Schools Sports Association KSSA Athletics competition for primary and secondary learners with special needs begin in Mombasa today with teams drawn from different counties set to rub shoulders in various disciplines.

This year’s competition has brought together over 2,500 students with special needs ranging from physically handicap students, visual, hearing and metal impairment as well as autism from all the regions in the country.

Deputy Director of the Directorate of Special needs in the Ministry of Education, Fredrick Aga yesterday said participants will compete in both track and field events to be staged at Shimo la Tewa School, Khamis High School and Sahajanand Special School grounds.

Aga said everything was already in place for the week-long competition which was launched in 2004 and has since been extended across the boarders to East and Central African.

He said financial constraints were crippling their bid to harness talent from students with special needs through such activities adding that inadequacy of custom facilities for children with special needs such as special tracks for wheelchair racing was a stumbling block to their cause.

“Proper funding will go a long way in creating more awareness on the need to enroll children with disabilities to schools. It is the best breeding ground for their talents as well as self-reliance later in life,” added the official.

Addressing participants during the official opening ceremony yesterday, Mombasa County Director for Gender, Youth and Sports Rajab Babu said the competition would help create awareness and give them an opportunity to showcase their talents.

“This is an opportunity for students with special needs to compete like any other student in the country. It helps learners to showcase their talents as well as sensitize the community on how to relate to people with special needs,” said Babu.

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