South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) Disability Mainstreaming Unit (DMU) advocates for barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities. Disability issues in the University environment exist in physical, academic and social dimensions. The University has, through the Disability Mainstreaming Unit, outlined strategies to deal with issues of disability to ensure that SEKU becomes an all-inclusive institution. The strategies have been captured in the Seku Disability Mainstreaming Policy.
One of the key objectives of the University is to produce well educated, skilled and competent human capital through its academic programmes and through student welfare activities. The main strategy for realising this objective is the establishment of scholarship funds for disadvantaged students. The University also aims to attract, develop, motivate and retain qualified and competent staff and ensure 5% representation of persons with disabilities in all the University issues. The strategy under this objective is to apply affirmative action to ensure participation of staff with special needs.
To achieve its disability mainstreaming goals, the Disability Mainstreaming Committee (DMC) spearheads disability related issues guided by the University Statutes 35 (4). The Committee is also guided by the SEKU Disability Mainstreaming Policy, whose thrust is to promote the rights of persons living with disabilities (PLWD). The recent buildings in Main Campus, Kitui Campus and Wote Campus demonstrate the Seku’s commitment to a barrier free built environment. The current Disability Mainstreaming Committee has eight members, namely:
Since its inception in 2015, the DMC, has so far undertaken the following activities: Sensitisation of staff and students on disability issues; Monitoring and evaluation of all disability mainstreaming activities to ensure that the SEKU environment is disability friendly; Intensive accessibility audit in November 2015 involving staff from National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD); Designation of parking areas for persons with disabilities; Sensitisation of staff and students with disabilities on the importance of registration with NCPWD; Introduction of sign language interpretation during SEKU graduation ceremonies to promote equity; Assistance to students with disabilities to apply for educational assistance from NCPWDs and managed to get sponsorship of KSh140,000 for two students at the Wote Campus.
The Committee is committed to highlighting the needs of PLWD to ensure that SEKU is a fully and all-inclusive institution. In so doing, the Committee seeks for interventions that provide social protection as well as social inclusion so as to accelerate progress and inspire the SEKU community to be a warm and embracing to everyone in our midst. Where possible, resources, training as well social assistance will be channelled to persons living with disabilities through the DMU.
In the words of the First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta:
“People with disabilities have so much to offer. They are a resource which must be valued and harnessed. It is therefore important that we capture their potential and talent. We must be vigilant in ensuring that we are true to our Constitution – to be an inclusive nation that assures every individual that they belong.”
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