Disability Not Inability

by Sandra Bauer


When Margaret first started school, she was already ten years old. She had issues with her mobility, which was later diagnosed as brittle bone disease. She also used a wheelchair, since her bones broke easily if she stood. However, her diagnosis did not affect her mental capabilities. When Kupenda for the Children supported her to start school, she thrived.

Margaret in 2021

Back at home, Margaret’s father was retired from working at a water company. The family farm in Kenya was the sole source of income. Unfortunately, environmental conditions such as drought, insect infestation, and floods often made the harvest poor. This resulted in little food and made it impossible to pay the fees Margaret needed to attend school. Fortunately, Kupenda was able to arrange a scholarship for her to enroll in the Kizurini Special School.

Supported to Thrive

Today her father is grateful for all the support given to Margaret. He does not believe she would have progressed as far without it. He has also committed to doing his part to assist Margaret in achieving her dreams.

At school, Margaret has many opportunities to develop her talents and interests. She enjoys singing gospel and traditional music, even as a soloist. She is even on a music team that participated in national competitions.

This year Margaret was moved to the mainstream school, Kizurini Primary School, that shares the same school compound as the special school. As a result, Margaret can live in the dormitories at Kizurini Special School but attend classes at Kizurini Primary School, ensuring her the best education for her abilities. She has also gained many friends. In fact, the students compete for the opportunity to wheel Margaret to her classes and back to her dormitory.

As disability training workshops are conducted by Kupenda throughout Kilifi County where Margaret lives, the stigma towards children with disabilities is decreasing, discouraging the practice of keeping them hidden. Instead, children like Margaret are well loved by their families and communities, attend school, and will one day have better opportunities for being self-reliant members of their communities.

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