Children with special needs benefit from new classroom at Sosiani Primary School
The Family Group Foundation has pledged to help children with autism and other special needs access better learning facilities.
The Foundation handed over a classroom it helped renovate at Sosiani Primary School in Eldoret to cater for students with Autism. The renovation was funded using part of the proceeds from the Family Bank Half Marathon held in October 2016.
Family Group Foundation Manager Jacqueline Mathaga said the organization is seeking to ensure inclusivity in education for all children in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“The Family Group Foundation under its education pillar strives to ensure that those from disadvantaged backgrounds get equal access to learning opportunities,” said Mathaga.
She called for partnerships between government and other stakeholders in ensuring children afflicted with autism can access learning facilities suited to their special needs.
Family Group Foundation is a partnership of Family Bank, Kenya Orient Insurance and Daykio. It is involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in education, healthcare, agribusiness and entrepreneurship.
Sosiani Primary School, a public mixed day primary school, is located in Eldoret South in Uasin Gishu County. It is run by the county government and currently has 970 students. Of these, ten have autism and have gone through special education needs assessment. Sosiani is also the first school in the county to offer special needs education.
“There are many children in the area with autism. They are however kept away at home. Even when we admit them here, their parents have to adjust because of the distance from their homes,” said Peninah Katam, a school curriculum officer in charge of special needs in Uasin Gishu.
She added that they had settled on Sosiani Primary School because of its close proximity to Eldoret town. “The school Board of Governors responded positively to our request and offered us a classroom with a capacity of up to 20 students,” said Katam during the official handover ceremony.
Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The signs usually manifest before age three. Autism affects a child’s learning and development.
The international community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. The SDGs are a set of global commitments to end poverty and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Education is goal 4 among the 17 goals adopted by the UN.
Goal 4 on education aims to achieve inclusivity and provision of quality education by the year 2030. Globally, the number of children with autism has been rising and Kenya is no exception. The Ministry of Education has a policy on special education and a directorate to oversee implementation of special learning programmes.
Family Bank Foundation has sponsored education initiatives to the tune of Ksh256 million over the last three years. The Foundation also runs a mentorship programme for bright but needy students. Over 430 children from all the 47 counties have benefitted from the programme so far.