Sidelined and Stigmatized: How Special Olympics Kenya is helping parents of children with intellectual disabilities

Zadock Mavinda, a 16-year old, sits in his house during the Golisano Foundation's visit.
Zadock Mavinda sits in his house during the Golisano Foundation's visit.

"Among one hundred women, only one woman will accept to take care of a child that is not hers and has intellectual disabilities. This is the reason why I have decided not to remarry after my wife's death and devoted myself to taking care of my child."
David Mukabi, a father of two from the Mashimoni slums in Kajiado County, Kenya.

During a visit by the Golisano Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and who works with Special Olympics Kenya, Mukabi welcomes us to his single, iron sheet structured house with a smile of hope holding his elder son Zadock Mavinda's hand.

Mavinda, now 16 years old, was born with an intellectual disability and according to his father it has not been an easy journey bringing him up especially after the death of his wife.

"Things have not been easy. When my wife gave birth to a child with intellectual disabilities, a lot of people discouraged us. Others termed our son cursed. It became worse when my wife died. My son has been sidelined. I am a single parent with no employment. I go out to look for casual jobs to ensure my kids eat but I cannot give up on taking care of them."

The introduction of a special needs unit at Nkaimurunya Primary School located a few kilometres from the slum and a beneficiary institution of the Golisano Foundation, has given hope not only to Zadock but his father too. Zadock's health has gradually improved through participation in the health programs provided at the school via the partnership of Special Olympics Kenya and the Golisano Foundation.

Please read a full article detailing the work of Nkaimurunya Primary School in partnership with the Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics Kenya in AIPS Media.

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