Gibson’s School for the Education of Special Needs Individuals
Problem: Lack of quality vocational qualifications training institutions and lack of employment opportunities for persons living with Special Needs in Kenya.
More than 500 million people in the world are disabled as a consequence of mental, physical or sensory impairment. In Kenya, at least one person out of 10 is disabled by physical, mental or sensory impairment, and at least 25 per cent of the population is adversely affected by the presence of disability.
People with disabilities are highly over-represented among the poor; about 82 per cent of them live below the poverty line. Poverty is considered both a cause and a consequence of disability. Poverty is a consequence of disability since people with disabilities often lack access to education, health services and income-generating activities; they are often denied their human, social and economic rights. These factors contribute to high levels of vulnerability and exclusion.
It is frequently assumed that persons with disabilities cannot or do not want to work.
This is incorrect – disabled persons, like non-disabled persons, want to work and, given the opportunity, can and do work. Work provides the means to meet the additional costs associated with having a disability.
Having a job thus reduces frustration, loneliness and feelings of social isolation which disabled individuals battle on a daily basis. Work; particularly paid employment, provides disabled persons with an opportunity to show they can contribute which helps re-enforce positive attitudes within them. Economic activity is thus important for people with disabilities; it offers them the opportunity to be recognised as contributing members of their communities.
The main problems disabled persons in Kenya face in their desire to work include:
- lack of education
- lack of vocational training and employable skills
- rapidly changing labour markets
- employers’ attitudes and perceptions
- lack of access to self-employment opportunities
- Unfair terms of employment
- Higher Work-related costs
Other barriers for participating in vocational training are:
- the lack of training materials in Braille;
- the lack of assistance in the form of special needs teachers;
- family responsibilities (especially for women);
- the lack of basic education or poor quality education;
- lack of sign language interpreters;
- lack of suitably-trained teachers;
- ill health (disability-related difficulties) and
- Gibson’s School was incorporated in 2009 for the education of Special Needs individuals in Vocational Skills, Life Skills, Social Skills and Functional Education. The school is committed to helping people with developmental disabilities participate fully in life gathered in a community intentionally designed for this purpose. This school has a vision to pursue therapeutic and developmental goals primarily through a way of life in which people with disabilities and others live together in communities where everyone contributes in some way to the community and has meaningful work or education; where nature and natural rhythms are important; and the life is rich in spiritual, cultural, and artistic experiences. We term this Community Based Care.
To create an educational therapeutic community and environment, which upholds each person’s human integrity and spiritual wholeness and where every person, both because of and despite their individual challenges, has something to give and something to learn through all of their relationships with others.
- To provide quality education for persons of all ages with disabilities
- To provide qualified staff to teach academics, vocational, social and life skills
- To provide the best learning resources and learning support for individuals with developmental disabilities
- Provide accessibility to alternative therapies
- To educate the public about what it means to have mental, physical or sensory impairments
- To educate the public and especially potential employers about the contribution that special needs individuals can bring to their organisation and to the community as a whole
- Find employers who are willing to employ and pay disabled persons as they would any other individuals
- Lack of funding
- Lack of professional qualified special needs staff
- Lack of qualified vocational teaching staff
- Lack of required learning and teaching resources
- Lack of professional alternative therapists
- Lack of willing employers
Gametrackers Safaris is facilitating the construction of a vocational training workshop fully equipped with necessary equipment for the various vocations offered at the centre. Gametrackers Safaris also contributes to the salaries of qualified vocational teachers for the centre.
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