Kisumu Deputy Governor, Dr Mathew Owili joined local residents and Persons with Disability in marking the White Cane Awareness Day on Thursday.
The ceremony held at the Mama Grace Onyango Social Centre, is celebrated every 15th October to commemorate the achievements of visually impaired persons. However, the celebrations came late this year due to effects of Covid 19 pandemic.
This year’s theme “My Cane, My Right to Inclusion” demonstrates the significance of the White cane to a person with visual impairment.
The White Cane is a tool with a symbol of mobility and independence to the visually impaired persons, which allows them to move freely and safely.
While representing Kisumu Governor, Professor Nyong’o at the event, Dr Owilli congratulated his boss for being ranked Fourth among the best performing governors in the 47 counties.
In the poll, conducted by Infotrack Research, Prof Nyong’o also emerged the best among the First Term governors.
Concerning the celebrations, Dr. Owili outlined the strides the county government has made in mainstreaming disability issues into policy frameworks.
Out of the 1.5Million residents of Kisumu, 39,929 are PWDs who have been accorded rights and privileges as enshrined in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya. So far 43 companies belonging to PWDs are doing business worth 53million with the county.
Employment and provision of equal opportunities has seen 124 PWDs secure jobs across all carders.
Dr. Owili commended the Governor’s advisor on matters disability, Madam Caroline Agwanda for steering the enactment of the Disability law in the county, making Kisumu the first county to have Disability law in Kenya.
He thanked the Kenya Society for the Blind for donating 10 computers to assist the visually impaired persons to access information, 100 white canes to the visually impaired persons and the Lions club for food donations to the PWDs to celebrate
He further promised to continue strengthening partnerships On PWDs to implement the UN convention on the rights of PWDs and ensure disability is mainstreamed in the SDGs leaving no one behind.
The Chairman National Council of Persons with disabilities, Hon. Peter Muchiri thanked Kisumu for hosting the event and called on stakeholders to engage with the visually impaired on issues affecting them.
He also called on the media not only to highlight challenges but also contributions made by the PWDs.
The Chairman Kenya Society for the Blind, Mr Samson Waweru, on his part emphasized on the importance of the white cane as an important tool to the visually impaired.
He added that the Kenya Society for the Blind donated 10 computers to launch a regional hub for adaptive technology for the blind not to be left behind in the technology space. He applauded Kisumu County for being the first in the Country to launch such a centre.
The County Executive Member for Education, ICT and HRD, Mr. John Obiero Awiti said he will consider the number of PWDs to benefit from bursaries to be issued and also promised to work on the amendments for their own fund account to cater for their unique challenges.
The representative for chairperson Kisumu PWD board, Madam Truphena Akoth thanked the county for providing an office that accommodates PWDs and requested that the same provisions be done in other offices including the social amenities for easy access.
During the function, an office was opened at the centre to be used by PWDs in their administration.
The function was also attended by a host of top county officials, Officers from the department of Education and Human Resource Development among other invited guests.
By Emily Mikwa