Kaburugi Catholic Church in Kandara, Murang’a, has initiated a care programme for children living with disabilities.
The church under Orione Congregation initiated the programme aimed at educating the masses on the needs and care of the young PWD to help them grow.
This comes amid the rising cost of living that has left a profound impact on the lives of children in local homes, who face additional challenges as their caretakers struggle to keep up with the rising expenses.
Compounded by societal stigma towards disabled dependents, the vulnerable population is facing an uphill battle for support and inclusion in society.
The church has a history of supporting persons with special needs as it started a place for the mentally challenged where they got care and support.
In the past 15 years, children suffering from autism, physical disabilities, and mental challenges have been enrolling in the programme, which has helped their parents benefit from food, among other needs.
The priest in charge, Father Gideon Ombwori, under Orionine Congregation, said the church helps the young access basic education, and therapy, among other needs to support their wellbeing.
Cost of living, he said, has pushed many of the families towards the support of the dependents.
“The cost of diapers is too high, and we are calling on the government to lower the taxation,” he said,
He noted the monthly cost of transporting the children to school and back, amounts to Sh182,000 per month.
“The church has established a therapy room where the children are attended, and many have regained mobility and integrated,” said Ombwori.
Father Ombwori said parents with such dependents were struggling to make ends meet, and the church opened a facility to cater for the children and help them acquire skills.
Speaking to The Standard, he said the church has a programme for the girls to acquire saloon skills and introduced the boys to horticulture.
“With support from the Catholic Diocese of Murang’a (CDM) we have started a journey and seek support of the many for the interest of the young,” said Ombwori.
Parents with children with disabilities registered at the facility.
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Peris Wambui said the parents help by performing various duties in the facility, like preparing meals and keeping the children clean.
“Ridicule to families with special needs had been the norm in the village, but civic education by the church leadership has helped the public understand,” said Ms Wambui
Peter Kamau, a resident of Ng’araria Market, said the number of persons with special needs has increased in the villages, appreciating the church for supporting the vulnerable persons.
Kamau, a member of the church, said the missionaries have assisted the community to understand the problems the children and their families face daily.
“In the past, families with such relatives were forced to hide them in fear of public ridicule, but now the situation has changed,” said Kamau.