Friday, September 25, 2009

Kenya launches fundraising efforts for people with mental disabilities

From Saturday Nation in Kenya:

Families of people with mental disabilities will no longer have to struggle with the upkeep of their kin.

The Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped has launched a Fund that will see every person with mentally disability receive Sh4,500 every month for the rest of their lives to cater for their livelihood.

To kick off the fund, retired president Daniel Moi dedicated this year’s Moi Day celebrations to a charity walk to raise funds towards alleviating the suffering of the mentally disabled persons whose number stands at 3.5 million in Kenya alone.

Speaking at a press conference at his Kabarnet Gardens in Nairobi on Thursday, the retired head of state listed the discomforts those with mental disabilities endured on a daily basis.

Mr Moi singled out their inability to benefit from funds set aside by the Kibaki government for the disabled because of their unique condition.

He said that unlike people with other forms of disabilities who could secure jobs as lecturers or lawyers, the mentally disable could not venture in gainful employment due to their condition.

“In situations where they do vocations, they must rely on the support of other people without disabilities. Without this support, it is difficult for them to realize reasonable stock and income,” Mr Moi observed.

As a result, people with disabilities need daily support throughout their lives, he added.

“Lack of this important support has brought suffering to mothers who are forced to hide, chain and neglect their children,” he lamented.

Flanked by officials of the Society for the Mentally Handicapped, the retired president underscored the importance of carers who spend their days and nights looking after the mentally disabled.

This besides the therapeutic support the mentally disabled persons required to make their conditions manageable.

Mr Moi said the proposed Fund, to be managed by the Society’s trustees, will provide and sustain the services of the carers and the very essential therapeutic support to the mentally disabled.