Learners in Nairobi raise alarm over drugs abuse and insecurity

A section of learners at Nairobi School Primary and Junior Secondary. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Learners in the city have appealed to education stakeholders to protect them against exposure to drug and substance abuse.

Calling for a crackdown, the learners said the drugs are being sold within the vicinity of their schools.

Further, they complained about being frequent victims of muggings, especially in the morning and evening.

The learners expressed their views during an inaugural meeting dubbed 'Nairobi Region Education Dialogue' that brought them together to ventilate challenges they face.

The meeting came days after National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) raised the red flag that painted a worrying picture on the high rate of drug abuse among school going children.

The data also indicate that the majority of these young students have cancer and mental health.

Governor Johnson Sakaja reiterated that nothing should hinder learners from accessing quality education regardless of social and economic background.

‘‘This conference offers us with a once- in- lifetime opportunity to hear directly from our children about what works best for them, allowing us to improve our intentions and guarantee that every child not only develops but thrives,’’ Sakaja said in a speech read on his behalf by Talents, Skills Development and Care Executive Rosemary Kariuki.

Sakaja re-affirmed the county government commitment to increasing school enrolment through the school feeding programme noting that the current facilities are not sufficient.

‘‘We have embarked on a journey of expanding the school feeding programme that will provide nutritious meals to our children to keep them in school,’’ he stated.

Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris hailed the meeting saying it was a platform for ascertaining some of the problems learners face.

‘‘Factors like family, trauma and social issues impact their mental health. And to support them; just nurture a loving environment and promote open communication,’’ noted Passaris.

She promised to provide a grant to support the Alternative Providers for Basic Education and Training (APBET) Association in their commendable work in the informal sector.