Wajir Integrated School is the only girls’ boarding primary school integrating the physically challenged in Wajir County

Every time pupils of Wajir Girls Integrated Primary School head to the field to play, Nasrah Mohamed goes to the recreational hall to play scrabble with her friends. Although it is her favourite board game, she also enjoys playing ‘snakes and ladders’ and recently took up to throwing darts.

Nasrah, who cannot walk and depends on a wheel chair to move around, is also the school’s deputy president, a role she takes very seriously. She leads by example even during games time.

“Everyone has to play,” she says. “There are more than enough games for everyone. So there is no need for some girls to stand and watch others enjoy themselves,” she says.

Inside the hall the girls indulge in different board and indoor games from table tennis, chess, ludo to pool.

It was not always like this. Established in 1988 to boost education of girls which was low at that time, Wajir Integrated School is the only girls boarding primary integrating the physically challenged in the county.

The school has 960 girls of whom 360 are boarders. There are 80 learners who are physically challenged. But the school lacked the facilities to cater for their needs.

The school has 960 girls of whom 360 boarders. There are 80 pupils who are physically challenged.

According to the headteacher, Mrs Raha Abdi, the school was in need of physiotherapy equipment.

“When the others went for games, those who are physically challenged could only watch,” she says.

In July 2014, the Safaricom Foundation contributed funds for the construction and equipping of the physiotherapy department. The Foundation also donated funds for the construction of a recreational hall and for purchase of games equipment.

“We wrote a proposal to them not knowing they would respond so quickly. We were surprised they did,” says the head teacher.

“The first thing they did was the physiotherapy project. They also brought along 10 wheelchairs and an equal number of crutches,” she says.

Statistics by World Health Organisation show that approximately 10 per cent of the total population in Kenya is physically challenged.

Of these, 25 per cent are children. Less than 15,000 of these children are enrolled in educational programmes. Most of them are enrolled in schools where they are expected to use similar facilities as those who are able bodied.

“I came to this school since the others around do not have such facilities,” says Nazlin Abdala, a Standard Eight pupil.

“It is not just me. There are a lot of new pupils,” she says.

The facilities have also led to a reduction in the number of girls dropping out of school, according to the head teacher. “Remember, Wajir is a vast county. Girls from all the surrounding sub-counties and even as far as Garissa are coming here,” she says.

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