- Father Alejandro Ruiz, a Catholic Priest, started the centre with the main objective of promoting the lives and integration of persons with intellectual disability.
- The kind of training that takes place at Orione Centre is usually based on the strengths and interests portrayed by the trainees.
- Come November 2018, 16 trainees will graduate from the Orione Community Training Centre and then proceed to a two-year employment contract at the same facility.
In September 2018, the Disability Rights International (DRI) conducted an investigation into institutions and orphanages across the country on general living conditions on the children.
The investigation also looked into infanticide -- the intentional killing of infants. The report shows that institutions that house disabled children have far worse living conditions compared to other children orphanages.
Inasmuch as there are parents who wish to tend to their children who have special needs, they lack the means to do so. Sadly, this has pressured some parents to kill their disabled children.
Dickson Indiya discovered that his son, David, was disabled right after he joined kindergarten.
“The teacher called to inform me that my son was not at par with his peers in class. She noted that David was having some challenges with learning and proposed that we enrol him in a special school,” he recounts.
Dickson admits that at first it was tough raising his now 19-year old son because of the stigma that surrounds people living with disability, more so children. Over time, Dickson came to accept his son just as he was, and raising him became less challenging.
“At times, David needed something but we could not understand due to the communication barrier. It was heart-breaking to see him getting frustrated or dissatisfied with our responses to his needs.
“Parents of disabled children are often forced to keep their children at home to shield them from stigmatisation. The main reason why we did not do this is because we came to accept his condition early.”
On November 1, 2018, David and his 15 classmates will graduate from the Orione Community Training Centre in Rongai, Kajiado County, after studying there for the last three years.
After graduation, they will each get a two-year employment contract at the same facility.
Days before the ceremony, Lucy Njeri could not contain the joy of her daughter Virginia’s upcoming graduation. For Lucy, this was a miracle.
“I am entirely grateful because I didn’t even think that my child would get here. We visited multiple clinics when Virginia was young and all the doctors we saw said that she may not live past the age of five years. She was diagnosed with down syndrome at a very tender age,” she says amid tears.
The Orione Community Training Centre in Kaburugi, Thika, was founded in Kenya in 2005 by the Catholic Congregation of Sons of Divine Providence.
Father Alejandro Ruiz, a Catholic Priest, started the centre with the main objective of promoting the lives and integration of persons with intellectual disability.
The centre works with children and youth with conditions such as cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism, and those who are intellectually challenged; most of them coming from poor families.
In July 2015, Father Ruiz realised that there was more he could do to help the community with his four-acre farm in Kandisi, Ongata Rongai.
He decided to open a second branch of Orione Community Training Centre on his farm. Presently, both centres have a total of 100 trainees aged between six and 29 years.
The centres offer special education, rehabilitation, as well as vocational training in farming and poultry keeping.
“Our vision is to help our students be independent and be able to sustain themselves when they leave the centre.
Once the children are brought to the centre, we ask their parents to cover whatever amount of fees they can afford, and we can take the rest from there,” explains Fr Ruiz.
REHABILITATION AND TRAINING