All children living with disabilities in Mombasa County will be ferried to school for free from next term. Families of children living with disabilities will also receive cash transfers.
The Mombasa County Government is registering children for the School Transport System for Children with Disabilities (Stride) project, with technical support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
The county education chief officer, Mr John Musuva, said the project’s goal is to improve school enrolment for children with disabilities in the county.
He added: “The development of this programme was informed by the Mombasa Social Protection Strategy 2017, which highlighted the key intervention areas for social protection programmes within the county.”
Many children living with disabilities can’t access education due to transport challenges and stigma.
Some parents of children with disabilities also opt to leave their children at home instead of taking them to school because they lack access to disability-friendly institutions.
Mr Musuva said the programme focuses on unconditional cash transfers to help with school-related expenses for children with disabilities, improving the school transport system and capacity strengthening for the county government.
The programme, to be implemented across the county, combines social protection and educational interventions in order to improve learning and other developmental outcomes for children with disabilities, the official said.
Currently, the Mombasa County Government, together with partners, is undertaking mass beneficiary identification and registration as well as educational assessment for all children with disability in the county.
“The assessments are being undertaken on-site for purposes of issuing disability cards to all eligible children. Educational assessments will be undertaken for placement of children in appropriate schools,” he added.
For a child to be registered, they must be Kenyan citizens by birth or registration, a resident of Mombasa, living with disability and with a maximum age of 24.
“The eligibility criteria for the enrolment in the school transport system includes school-going, aged between four to 24 years,” he added.
“The county government has plans to roll out the school transport model to the other sub-counties,” he said.
The mandatory documents required as a proof for eligibility for the various programme components include proof of age through birth notification/ certificate, a letter from the area chief, proof of residency in Mombasa with a letter from the village head and proof of nationality through the National Identity card of a parent or guardian.
Mr Musuva urged parents with children with disabilities to visit registration centres within their various sub-counties for assessment.
“All eligible children stand to benefit from the issuance of disability cards and educational assessment letters. No child living with disability should be left behind,” the county education boss said.