, Kenya, Sep 23 – The Kenya Paraplegic Organisation (KPO) has stepped up its appeal for Sh250 million required to put up a trauma and rehabilitation center in Kiserian.
Speaking during a fundraising luncheon on Thursday, KPO Executive Director Timothy Wanyonyi pointed out that the center which would be built on a 12 acre piece of land would help save many paraplegics from early death.
He argued that the hospital facilities in the country could not adequately meet the needs of people with spinal cord injuries as they were not primarily designed for their needs.
“We only have a small facility – the National Spinal Injury Hospital which has a capacity of 32 beds. And any one time we have over 200 people waiting to be admitted to that hospital. We welcome you to work with us, walk with us and make this dream come true,” he said.
“I know that we have been on a begging mission for a long time but this will soon come to an end.”
During the luncheon close to Sh20 million was raised by various corporates and individuals. The society had also separately raised Sh40 million through the ‘One Million People Campaign’. The campaign seeks to raise Sh100 million from Kenyans.
KPO patron Gian Vohra also encouraged Kenyans to continue giving to the society, observing that every Sh100 sent to the organisation would go a long way towards helping KPO realise its goal.
“If one million Kenyans donate Sh100 each, we will be able to reach our goal,” he said.
Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi added that it would be important for Kenyans to bear in mind the special needs of the disabled when constructing buildings.
“I want to tell everyone who is able that we cannot even start to realise what it means to actually be disabled in anyway; may it be visually, physically or whatever other way. The Society for the Blind once blindfolded me, gave me a walking stick and told me to walk and it was a nightmare,” she said.
On his part, Safaricom Foundation Chairman Les Baillie reassured all those who would donate to the society that their money would be used well. He explained that the Safaricom Foundation had in the past worked with KPO.
“One of the things that Mr Wanyonyi told me when we first met was that 60 percent of paraplegics die in the first year after leaving hospital and that was a frightening statistic. So we would like to ask other companies to come in and help this cause,” he said.
Other companies that were present included: Oraro and Co. Advocates, East African Portland Cement, Royal Media Services, the Merali foundation, Safaricom Limited and the Sameer Foundation.
Incoming Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore and Justice Sankale Ole Kantai of the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court were also present.