NAIROBI, Kenya, October 14 – Triple paralympic gold medalist Henry Kirwa believes the disabled community has more to offer this country as the aim to achieve the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) gathers pace.
Kirwa who has been appointed a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) advocate said on Tuesday that Kenya’s achievements at last year’s Beijing Paralympics was an avenue to show what people with disabilities can do if given the chance.
“What we did in Beijing was due to the motivation we received from the government and Kenyans at large,” said Kirwa who captained Kenya during the Paralympics.
Kirwa who clinched gold in the 10000m, 5000m and 1500m added that the government should also move into the rural areas where disabled people are suffering the most.
“There are a lot of hardships in the remote areas because there are no facilities to cater for the disabled,” said Kirwa who is blind in one eye.
“I want to thank UNDP for this initiative because it’s high time we recognized people with disabilities because they are also human,” he added.
He also thanked the government for rewarding the athletes when they came back from Beijing.
UNDP country director Tomoko Nishimoto said that they settled on Kirwa not just for his athletics feats but for his wider role in the community.
“Henry has done a splendid job in trying to eradicate poverty in this country. The government also has to play a role in this mission so together with Henry we hope to advocate for proper policies and actions,” said Nishimoto.
Kirwa’s unveiling is part of a wider programme called ‘Stand Up’, an initiative geared towards demanding governments to achieve the MDGs with six years left to go towards the deadline.