Teachers lobby in drive to raise funds for wellness centre

Kewota Chief Executive Benta Opande. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Teachers across the country will today stage a walk to raise funds for the construction of a wellness centre amid rising number of tutors with mental health illnesses.

Kenya Women Teachers’ Association (Kewota) Chief Executive Benta Opande said the exercise started in the counties yesterday and will culminate in a national event at the Ulinzi Sports Complex, Nairobi.

Gender and Affirmative Action PS Anne Wang’ombe will grace the walk that will end at Nyayo Stadium.

Opande said Kewota would partner with other organisations, adding that at least one in four tutors suffer from mental illness and distress.

“In the last three years, we have lost 100 teachers from suicide and those are the ones which are reported,” she said.

She said the association is in negotiations to acquire a piece of land for the centre.

“We are working with Kenya National Union of Teachers, Nairobi branch, because they have a land scheme in Joska. We have agreed with them that after the walk, majority of that financing will go towards buying the land,” she said.

Kewota indicated that teachers’ mental problems are caused by domestic abuse, financial distress and other family problems. “There are so many alcoholic teachers, especially the male. They have so much bottled inside that the family and their institutions do not understand,” said Opande.

“We need a wellness center that teachers call their own. There is one by TSC, but when you listen to teachers, many say that the problem stems from the employer thus are reluctant to seek help from the current wellness centre.”

TSC’s 2021/2022 annual report underscored the severity of the situation, revealing that one in every four teachers seeking outpatient services suffer a mental health disorder. 

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