The Disability and Inclusion Office observes International Day of Persons with Disabilities

By Elizabeth Wanjiku

On November 28, the USIU-Africa Disability Inclusion office hosted the university community at a celebration of the launch of the USIU-Africa Disability Inclusion Policy as they marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities that is globally celebrated on December 3. External stakeholders were also invited to mark and celebrate the milestones that the University has taken to enhance the commitment to diversity and inclusion in the university.

The Chief Guest was Hon. Isaac Mwaura- the Government Spokesperson, former Senator and Cabinet Administrative Secretary (CAS). Other guests in attendance included the Deputy Minister in the Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary and co-founder of the Albinism Society of Kenya Grace Okoth, Assistant Director of Education, at the Ministry of Education, Special Education Directorate who attended the event on behalf of Fred Haga, the Director of Special Education under the Ministry of Education.

In his remarks, Hon. Mwaura expressed his gratitude to the USIU-Africa community for giving him the opportunity to be part of the celebrations on the day. “We have come from far and we celebrate this day when USIU-Africa marks the launch of the Disability Inclusion Policy. This shows their commitment to the journey of inclusion and the strides made in ensuring that persons with disabilities are well represented,” he said.

He shared his experiences as a youth with albinism, noting that he faced challenges with stigma and scrimination,p; stating how he had to overcome outdated stereotypes in institutions. “I remember times when people in the parliamentary party I was in would wipe their hands after greeting me. Worst of it is that they would do it in my presence due to the belief that albinism is contagious,” he added.

But he said that this did not deter his will to purse his dreams. He has enjoyed great success and become the first ever Government Spokesperson with a disability. “I was selected on the basis of merit out of thousands of applicants. It was only after emerging as a successful applicant that anyone then thought of my names and my disability,” he concluded.

After the Chief Guest spoke, there was a panel discussion that invited guests’ panelists from international non-governmental organizations including Light for the World, UNICEF, Next Step Foundation to discuss issues around the challenges facing persons with disabilities in their access to education, transition to higher education and advocacy on funding to institutions of higher education in support of inclusive education. The discussion questions revolved around the theme, ‘United in Action to Rescue and Achieve the SDG’s for, with and by persons with disabilities.’

The guest speaker, Grace Okoth, noted that the day was one of reflection where USIU-Africa needed to look back to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts they had made on matters disability inclusion.

“Next year while celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, you should be able to look back and mark how far you have come, what measurable efforts you have made since and where you want to go. Setting targets will help you achieve your targets and those targets can be set as early as now,” she said.

USIU-Africa’s Disability Inclusion Policy was developed in 2018, reviewed and approved in 2022 and commits to provide all the structures, processes and resources necessary for the implementation of the policy.

Social Media