, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14 – Persons living with disabilities in Kenya on Tuesday lauded the government for its efforts to protect their rights and consider their welfare.
Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat of African Decade of Persons with Disabilities Kudakwashe Dube praised Kenyan for enacting relevant legislations and policies in favour of handicapped people in the country.
“Kenya has done excellently well. We must always appreciate the fact that we work in a very difficult environment where resources are not always on our side,” he said and added: “Even for our own governments we should acknowledge that they don’t always have the capacity that they require to provide our needs, we are very happy by the will that has been shown by the Kenyan government.”
He further said Kenya had made a big step to boost their welfare after it ratified the United Nations Convention on persons with disabilities.
In the current financial year, the government set aside 10 percent of the Women Enterprise Fund for women with disabilities. People with disabilities were also exempted from paying tax on their income up to a limit of Sh150, 000.
Due to the country’s effort to uplift the lives of people living with disabilities in the country, Mr Dube said the Secretariat was analysing the legislations and policies implemented to award the government an Ambassadorial status.
“We want to recognize the work that you have done and the progress that you have made in dealing with the issues of disability. We would be happy if Kenya would be awarded this status before the end of the year,” he said.
Once awarded, Kenya will hold the status for 10 years.
Mr Dube further noted it will be an example to other African countries to up their efforts and improve services offered to people living with disabilities. He said despite the difficult environment they are exposed to and worsened by the tough economic times, Kenya was on the right track in catering for their needs.
Mr Dube however said despite many supportive gestures, a lot still remained to be done to upgrade the services to international standards.
He complained that people in rural areas had been left out since most of the services offered in big towns had not rolled out equally in all areas of the country.
“At the end of the day, I want to take you to the village where we can see disabled people; the communities they live in and see what has been done for them. That is why I see we still have a long way to go,” he noted.
Mr Dube spoke during the launch of a report on the Baseline Study on the Status of the Disability Mainstreaming in Kenya.
The report recommended a closer collaboration between the government and people living with disabilities.
It also called on African governments, NGOs and the Civil Society to get involved in helping persons living with disabilities to adapt to their different conditions through the formation of relevant policies, programmes and laws.