Kenyan children with disabilities locked in camped dorms – report

Kenyan children with disabilities locked in camped dorms – report

At an orphanage on the outskirts of eastern Nairobi, Kenyan children with disabilities are slumped in wheelchairs.

They lay foetal-like on mattresses on the floor, or sit in chairs rocking back and forth repeatedly.

The children, ranging between 3 to 19 years old are devoid of attention and lack stimulation.

Many are unable to speak or move due to illnesses such as cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome.

A third of the children who are not independently mobile and are kept in a room all day.

Others with disabilities such as autism wander around a muddy patch of the compound.

At 4pm, they are locked in cramped dormitories, four to a bed until 6am.

A study by Disability Rights International (DRI) discovered that Kenyan children with disabilities in some orphanages are neglected and not given enough care and attention.

“Our research found having a disabled child is a horrible stigma in Kenya.

“They are a source of fear and shame and are a curse; parents are pressured to abandon these children or even kill them,” said Eric Rosenthal, DRI’s executive director.

“We also found that abandoned children are being placed in orphanages which are often unregistered and unregulated, where they are neglected and at a risk of abuse and exploitation,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

An official from Kenya’s Department of Child Services, who did not want to be named, said all registered orphanages were being inspected regularly.

However, it was still possible that  some charities were running unregistered orphanages: “We inspect all institutions caring for children which are registered,” he said.

“Those that are registered are closely monitored but there could also be some which are fake orphanages; getting foreign donations but not looking after the children.”