Hundreds of learners, some with disabilities, will now benefit from an improved learning environment courtesy of a project supported by LG Electronics in partnership with non-profit Habitat for Humanity Kenya (HFH Kenya).
The initiative aims to improve learning infrastructure, water, sanitation, and hygiene for 225 hearing-impaired children at the Machakos School for the Deaf and 400 Early Childhood Development (ECD) learners at Kyumbi Primary School.
Machakos County Deputy Governor Eng. Francis Maliti presided over the laying of the stone for a new library at Machakos School for the Deaf and also launched the construction of latrines, renovation of bathrooms and installation of a borehole water plumbing system.
The Deputy Governor hailed the project as noble and timely as it will help improve learning outcomes for hearing-impaired children besides promoting healthy living by providing access to clean and safe water.
“On behalf of the county government of Machakos, I wish to thank LG and Habitat for Humanity for this transformative project that will go a long way in addressing the challenges facing learners in the two schools. The county government is committed to working with partners to improve the education infrastructure in Machakos,” said Eng. Maliti.
The Deputy Governor was accompanied by LG Electronics Managing Director for East and Central Africa, Kenya, Sa Nyoung Kim, and Habitat for Humanity National Director, Ruth Odera.
Machakos School for the Deaf is the only school in the county catering for children with hearing impairment. It was established in 1986 by the Kenya Society for Deaf Children with the assistance of SHIF from Sweden as a mixed boarding school.
Mr. Kim pledged the company’s commitment to supporting the school as it will ensure children with disabilities and from underprivileged communities access education in a conducive and safe learning environment.
“As a responsible business, we believe in increasing social value by investing in underprivileged communities. This project is also important to us since it is aligned with the international sustainable development goal number 4 on promoting inclusive and equitable education,” said Mr. Kim.
On her part, Ms. Odera also reiterated the significance of the project especially with the advent of COVID-19. “COVID-19 has raised the dire need for safe, resilient, and healthy communities [including schools]. At Habitat for Humanity Kenya, we are glad to contribute towards meeting this need in Machakos County through quality and spacious structural buildings and improved access to water and sanitation for the school community,” said Ms. Odera.
In December, LG in collaboration with HFH Kenya embarked on the construction of two new ECD classrooms, a kitchen block, and latrines at Kyumbi Primary School in Mavoko Constituency. The school’s facilities were overstretched by the growing student population.
Some classrooms were dilapidated and lacked windows. Sanitation facilities were inadequate but will now be increased to comply with the Ministry of Education ratio of 1:25, but more importantly, ensure privacy especially for girls. The school will also benefit from a new kitchen to support its feeding program.
The Kenya Basic Education Act (2013) recommends that the school environment and facilities should accommodate the various categories of learners with special needs. This is however a challenge due to inadequate infrastructure. Many students with disabilities in Kenya are not enrolled in school, a violation of their rights.
Machakos County has 862 public and 252 private primary schools with a total population of 332,089 pupils and 7,947 teachers.