Vocational Training Program
This program started in May 2015 with a purpose of providing formal training and basic skills to children with various disabilities in Mukuru Kwa Ruben.
Universal Primary education is a global goal. Providing education as a right is an obligation of all governments and requires that they translate their national commitments into legislation. This goal will only be achieved when the universal right to education extends to individuals with special needs and disabilities in the country. Thus in realizing this, the Kenyan government came with this agenda of free education for all. The government in the light of the latter has come up with the policy that coordinates institutions that would over-see the provision of Special Needs Education with units being established into the normal schools. The schools then are entrusted with the task to; -
The Kenyan National Special Needs Education Policy Framework (MOE 2009) reiterates that, ‘People with disabilities (PWD) make up 10% of the total population of Kenya, approximately 3.5 million people (WHO 2006)’. The latter are indeed disadvantaged and marginalized groups and experience a high level of discrimination at all levels in our society.
A complex web of economic and social issues including gender inequality, create barriers within mainstream education, social and economic life to learners with special needs and disabilities. In addition are the physical barriers as a place like Nairobi and in Ruben’s case the slum are not user friendly to disability as well as schools having no special provision for disability access. As a result a good numbers of children with special needs are unable to access basic education. Poverty leading to lack of capital resources and cultural factors also hinder the expansion of services. So in Nairobi County with two hundred and five public schools, only three have special needs facilities and programs.
Disabled persons, especially children, face a host of problems as a result of their special needs. Many children with special needs live in hostile, bleak environments, where their safety and security is compromised and their future jeopardized. Thus, Ruben slum is not an exceptional to this case of marginalization of people living with disabilities, especially the children who are entirely vulnerable. The assessment, which was done in mid-February, indicates that there are children living with disabilities of school age and sill the families cannot afford to take them to special schools.
With the population of over 100,000 inhabitants, Ruben had no Centre for children living with disabilities. Due to the survey done by Association Of People With Disability (APDK) in this slum there is a great need of such service, thus as a response Ruben Centre has offered to start a special unity within the normal school structures in order to cater for children who live with disabilities and have to acquire special education.
The program has one full time teacher initially employed to teach other class levels at Ruben Primary. The teacher is well qualified with a Diploma in Special program. Three Caregivers assist the teacher. Initially when the unit was in its infancy stage the parents used to work as volunteers until it was decided that it was good to make it a full time post so that the children can become familiar with the caregivers instead of having new people every day. The children also enjoy the service of one Occupational therapist who is an employee of the Ruben Centre Clinic who meets them once a week.
The school’s physical education teachers are also programming two lessons per week with the children. They can take them to the hall or to the special exercise yard associated with the occupational therapist.
Ruben Primary is a public sponsored school by the Christian Brothers - Australia. The school offers free primary education like all other public schools and it is the only public school in Mukuru Kwa Ruben. Currently the school has a population of 2,700 children with 28 teachers from the government and 30 project teachers. The school has both ECDE – Early Childhood Development Education and Primary Education up to standard eight. The enrollment policy is in accordance with the Government of Kenya’s policy of Free Universal Primary Education. The curriculum used is also that which is offered by the Ministry of Education for all primary schools.
The school has a well-equipped library with at least most of the necessary books where the children go for private studies or library lessons. However the books available and the facility itself is not commensurate with the proportion of the student population. Our children receive two free meals daily, porridge for younger children from nursery to grade four through the contribution of staff from Unilever and lunch to all the children courtesy of World Food Programme.
Ruben primary values building and nurturing talents and this is evident through the many co-curriculum activities such as gymnastics, dances, sports, aerobics, fashion shows, drama and myriad of clubs that instill skills in children outside the classroom. Such clubs include: young farmers club, environment club, children rights and responsibility club, scouts and YES club
Ruben Primary School, in partnership with the Christian Brothers, offers quality education for all students, so that they grow in acceptance of themselves while growing in understanding of their socio-economic situation.