Organizers eye revamped School Games for the disabled

Sports officials with some of the children with disabilities who partcipated at this year's Games ...
Sports officials with some of the children with disabilities who partcipated at this year's Games in Nyeri. (PHOTO/Jeremiah Nyokabi)

Organizers of the Kenya National Special Schools Games and Sports appealed for more funding to re-equip the annual competition- now its 13th edition – as the 2017 event drew to a close on Saturday.

The week-long sports competition that kicked off on Monday was hosted in Nyeri County and brought together over 2,500 learners with special needs raging from physical handicap, visual, hearing and metal impairment as well as autism from all the country’s eight regions.

The Eastern region emerged overall best in the category of the deaf and blind learners followed by the Coastal region whereas Central won in the category of the physically handicapped.

The first prize for visually impaired learners went to Nyanza followed by Eastern while Western won in the category of mentally handicapped students students.

Games for children with autism, which attracted the least number of participants, were won by City Primary School followed by Kasarani; both based in Nairobi.

Speaking during the closing ceremony at Nyeri Moi Complex Primary School, the Kenya Schools Sports Association for Learners with Special Needs Chairperson Gertrude Kisaka said financial constraints were crippling their bid to harness talent from learners with special needs through such activities.

Kisaka said they are currently depending on funding from the Ministry Of Education but the moneys are insufficient to meet their budgetary requirements.

She pointed out an inadequacy of custom facilities for children with special needs such as murram tracks for wheelchair racing.

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

The Ministry of Education in charge of sports coordination, John Opiyo, warned over the declining special schools enrollment and urged parents to bring out their children.

Opiyo said the competition was a way of reaching out to the community to show that disability is not inability as well show parents with such children the need and benefit of enrolling them in school.

He added they are looking forward to separating the games that were currently merged for both secondary and primary schools, saying the newly formed special needs directorate will work towards achieving it.

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Story By Jeremiah Nyokabi
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