Tuesday, 27 March 2018
It is amazing how God can turn around events in a twinkle of an eye to bring to pass His divine order. God knows what to do and when to do it. He changes times and seasons, the world in its entirety are in the palm of His hands. God knows how to influence situations and arrange events to work for your good. The story of Queen Esther, Mordecai and The Jews is one of those thought-provoking and encouraging stories that, celebrates the Almightiness of God. It takes a chronological order which explores how God arranges situations and events to His own glory. Sometimes, you might wonder why things are not happening smoothly and speedily as you planned them to be, even when you are on a right path and relationship with God. Mordecai probably felt the same way. He refused to bow down to Haman, who came after him and his kindred, to wipe them off from the face of the earth. While it lasted, Haman succeeded in all his plans to kill the Jews, and even made gallows, where Mordecai would be hanged. Through the episodes, God seemed silent, and watched Haman almost winning over His own people. Are you wondering why God seems calm to your plights and challenges? You wonder why the enemy seems to be having an upper hand over you when you have a greater God in heaven. You see, before everything you are passing through began, God has already arranged a way of escape for you. For the Jews, God caused queen Vashti to refuse the royal order, so that Queen Esther will take her place. God foresaw the wickedness of Haman. Thus, Queen Esther needed to be in the palace at that time, in order to plead the case of the Jews before the King. How amazing is our awesome Father! The same God who prevailed for His children in the time past, is still God today. He sees all you are going through, He has not forgotten you. Only do your part by being faithful and obedient, then leave the rest to Him. God waited for Shadrack ,Meshach and Abednego to be thrown into the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, so He can prove Isaiah 43:2 to the entire world – “when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned…” God allowed Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den to show that – “The earth is of the Lord and the fullness thereof, the world and all that is in it” – Psalm 24:1 Beloved, God knows you by name. He knows every strand of hair on your head. Let the peace of God come into your heart now, and be sure that God knows and understands all you are going through. Trust His plans, He will surely bring you out unhurt.
Monday, 19 March 2018
the Lack of water In Kenya AKA ukosefu wa maji this came up in my mind today! “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 block quote end today Monday 19th March 2018 the year of our Lord we were having Dinner with friends at a Lion's club meeting. I introduced a discussion on the desperate shortage of clean water in so many parts of Kenya today. my thoughts are driven by the devastating unforgiving mother nature who has left more unconserved water and later Kenyans we shall be crying hunger. Globally, persons with disabilities make up 15 percent of the world’s population, 80 percent of whom lives in poverty. Nearly 36% of the global population lacks access to sanitation and 884 million people lack access to clean drinking water, which more often affects the poorest communities. Thus, approximately 177 million persons with disabilities are adversely affected and without access to clean water and sanitation come to think of it — world health organization and the UN estimates 25–37 million people die every year because of contaminated water. Next time you drink a glass of water or take a sip of bottled water, pray for the families who must drink water that could bring on disease and death. Pray for the mothers and children. What can we as people of the world do? Jesus said even one cup of water given to a little one would be rewarded. 1. PRAY. Each time you have a glass of water, pray for the success of the organizations that are attempting to drill wells to supply clean water. 2. RESEARCH. Become informed and inform others. Use your coffee time to recruit others to pray and give. 3. GIVE. Every dollar counts. Jesus talked about one cup of water. He talked about a widow giving a mite. giving is part of humanity and making a world a better place.am greatly inspired by the Achilles and Lion club members. A widow once brought a paltry little offering to the temple, but in Jesus’ economy, she out gave the wealthy, because she gave all she had. God continue opening my paths and I will continue impacting to lives. www.mugambipaul.com Question: What are some ways that you can encourage yourself to give more freely?
Thursday, 15 March 2018
Blind woman takes Commonwealth Bank to court over 'inaccessible' EFTPOS machines AKa Kenyan banks should learn:
By the Specialist Reporting Team's #Naomi Selvaratnam and consumer affairs reporter #Sarah Farnsworth Would you trust a stranger with your bank PIN? It's a question Nadia Mattiazzo is forced to ask herself daily. Key points: · Commonwealth Bank facing lawsuit alleging discrimination over touchscreen EFTPOS machines · Blind and vision-impaired people say terminals are virtually impossible for them to use because they don't have tactile keypad · Lawsuit follows 18 months of unsuccessful negotiations with the bank Ms Mattiazzo is blind and relies on her guide dog, Olympia, to navigate through parts of everyday life. But now, even a simple trip to the shops or a local cafe fills her with anxiety. Since the introduction of the Commonwealth Bank's "Albert" EFTPOS machine more than two years ago, Ms Mattiazzo said she felt vulnerable while paying for purchases. There are more than 88,000 Albert machines across Australia and they are entirely touchscreen. Blind and vision-impaired users say the terminals are virtually impossible for them to use because they don't have a tactile keypad. For Ms Mattiazzo, the machines demonstrate how some parts of society are still out-of-touch with people with special needs. "Today's world is becoming more accessible to people with disabilities — the technology is already there," she said. "I can hold down a job because my computer is accessible, I can withdraw cash from an ATM because my bank has keypads on their machines. But I can't buy a coffee." Ms Mattiazzo said, at times, she has been forced to give her PIN to cashiers to process a payment on her behalf. This breaches the terms and conditions of her contract with her bank, and leaves her feeling vulnerable. "In situations where you've ordered something and the item has been prepared, unless I'm prepared to walk out of the business and make a scene by doing that, what do I do?" she asked. Albert machines 'a bad design they need to fix' Ms Mattiazzo has joined forces with former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes and has lodged a lawsuit against the Commonwealth Bank, alleging discrimination. In today's day and age … accessibility is so important and is being considered in so many areas," she said. "We have ramps into buildings, we have accessible technology, we have iPhones, which have an absolute accessibility feature built into them. It's really disappointing to know that there are things being developed that don't have that consideration." The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is representing Nadia Mattaizzo in the case, which will be heard in the Federal Circuit Court. The group's CEO, Jonathan Hunyor, said the Albert machines prevented vision-impaired and blind users from conducting transactions safely. "Often technologies are introduced without the question being asked: can it be used by everyone in our community?" Mr Hunyor said. "Often accessibility is an afterthought. And that's the problem we're having here, where we say the Commonwealth Bank hasn't got the design right from the beginning, and that makes it a bad design that they need to fix." Vision-impaired users 'can listen to PIN instructions' The lawsuit follows 18 months of unsuccessful negotiations with the Commonwealth Bank over the machines after a complaint to the Human Rights Commission by advocacy group Blind Citizens Australia and PIAC. In a statement, a Commonwealth Bank spokesperson said it worked "collaboratively with both our technology partners, accessibility specialists and individuals with a range of vision loss to deliver the current accessibility". The spokesperson added the Albert machine contained an accessibility feature that enabled vision-impaired users to listen to instructions to enter their PIN. However, chief executive of Blind Citizens Australia, Emma Bennison, who is blind, said the feature was often unhelpful to vision-impaired users. "It's terribly anxiety provoking," she said. "I was in a coffee shop the other day, holding up the queue trying to enter my PIN and I found it incredibly distressing because the people behind me didn't know what I was doing, all they saw was me struggling to pay my bill. "They probably thought that I didn't have enough money, but in fact I was trying to listen to this tutorial just so I could enter my PIN. It's just ridiculous." Ms Bennison said many users were forced to give their PIN to friends or cashiers to complete a transaction after unsuccessfully trying to follow the accessibility tutorial. "Imagine what it would be like for a sighted person to take the numbers off a device and asking them to enter their PIN. That's what it's like for people who are blind or vision-impaired," she said. "I think it makes people firstly, very anxious when they're having to hold up a queue listening to a tutorial that tells them how to do something that last week they could do with a device with a keypad. "Now they have to listen to this tutorial, hold up a queue, and then in many cases find that they still can't enter their PIN." for this and much more be on the look www.mugambipaul.com
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” Psalm 119:15 There are times when solitude is better than community, and silence is wiser than speech. We will be better Christians if we take more time to be “alone” with God, and gathering spiritual strength through meditation on His Word, so that we will be refreshed to work in His service. We should take time to ponder God’s word, because then we get real nourishment out of it. Truth is something like a cluster of grapes on the vine: if we want wine, we must work for it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The worker’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow. They must stomp the grapes well, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So likewise we must, by meditation, work at God’s clusters of truth, if we really want to grow through God’s wisdom. Our bodies are not sustained just by putting food into our mouths. The process which supplies our muscle, nerves, and bones is the process of digestion. By digestion the outward food becomes absorbed into our bodies. Likewise, our souls don’t become well-nourished merely by listening to this and that, to part here and there of divine truth. Hearing, reading, and learning require inwardly digesting to be useful, and this digesting of the truth requires meditating upon it. We may wonder why some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make slow advances in their spiritual walk? It’s because they do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it. They would eat the corn, but they will not go into the field to gather it. The fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it. The water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. It's very easy to live most of your life on autopilot, rarely using the power of your conscious mind to shape events as you wish them to be. You have the power to create a better quality of life, moment to moment, every single day. Harness the power of your conscious mind, your will, your intention, your expectation, and direct it toward outcomes that thrill you. CHOOSE to make today a great day. INTEND to see things that inspire and amaze you. EXPECT the universe to help you create more abundance, love, peace, well-being, and harmony in your life. Acknowledging and using your power keeps it strong. :-)
Saturday, 10 March 2018
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. Hebrews 11:6 Faith is woven throughout the everyday fabric of my life, in the big and small circumstances, in the hard and perplexing uncertainties, and in the quiet moments when God is calling my name, drawing me near and asking me to follow wherever He leads. I will choose faith because this is what God desires. God wants us to have Faith. He wants us to Trust. He requires that we Wait. He wants us to Believe. He requires us to Wait patiently on Him. All of this works with our obedience in following God, and our obedience in following Him in what He has called us to do – which is His purpose in us. We will accomplish more through our faith than through anything else, such as works, abilities, talents, and degrees. Our faith is the outward demonstration of a heart that completely trusts God and believes He will do for us what we cannot do in our own strength. David could not kill Goliath in his own strength. That was God’s power in the slingshot and in the stone that hit Goliath. It was David’s faith and God’s power. Joshua and his army could not make the Jericho wall fall down with shouting and trumpets, but they demonstrated faith and obedience – and God in His power brought down the city wall. It takes faith to navigate our lives as each day comes with challenges that force us to choose to live by faith and trust in God, or the alternative, trust ourselves and the world around us. Some days rise up like giants before us. Do we believe that God will defeat the giants for us? It takes faith to believe He will and I want to make every effort to live out that kind of faith. I want to live a faith that pleases God. "If you act for self-gain then no good can come of it. If you act selflessly, then you act well for all and you must not be afraid." -- Rand Miller
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
why Persons with disabilities in Kenya risk being left out in county government plans AKA sababu za walemavu kubakia nyuma.
At the top of the new county governments’ ‘To Do’ list, as required by law, is strategic planning. The County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), a provision of the County Governments Act, 2012, is, effectively, the devolved unit’s strategic plan. It ought to show well-defined goals and objectives, a costed implementation plan, framework for monitoring and evaluation, as well as clear reporting mechanisms. It is the CIDP, then, that informs the county’s annual budget. Unfortunately, there is a real danger that persons with disabilities needs will not be adequately factored in the CIDPs and subsequent annual budgets. Those who make public policy decisions in Kenya in the disability sector are afew and may lack relevant technical skills and even persons with disabilities in the public sector are not adequately involved in the processes thus demeaning “Nothing about us with us” The public service commission report 2014 showed that only less than 1 % are employees with disabilities yet its mandatory at list 5 % should be individuals with disabilities. ALIENATING GROUP We must do all we can to ensure that the needs of the persons with disabilities are adequately considered in the county plans. After all, they are the single-largest demographic majority hgroup in Kenya: 15 % of the Kenyan population are persons with disabilities according to world report 2011. To eliminate the possibility of alienating this potentially most productive group, decision makers and other stakeholders at the county level must take deliberate steps to ensure that the persons with disabilities are at the front and centre of development plans. Granted, persons with disabilities in Kenya face many challenges, some of which are, however, not within the mandate of counties. The National Persons with disabilities Policy (2006) plus the national disability action plan 2015 which is under review, identifies two struggles the persons with disabilities face that counties can resolve: Health challenges and limited access to economic opportunities. CIDPs ought to address these. The best way to ensure this is to have persons with disabilities on board. A good starting point would be to deliberately include disability -friendly information formats and channels in information campaigns targeting to educate communities about participation in the county development planning. Access t information is a right and government needs to invest in accessible formats like braille, audio formats etc Any county government interested in reaching to persons with disabilities need to ensure all the time accessible formats are availed. As we head into the second round of devolution in Kenya, county governments and other stakeholders must meaningfully engage the persons with disabilities for programmes and decision making to address their needs by ensuring that they participate in planning.
Saturday, 3 March 2018
Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Kenya 1 Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics, http://www.cbs.go.ke/, accessed on 28 February 2018. Women and men with disabilities can and want to be productive members of society. In both developed and developing countries, promoting more inclusive societies and employment opportunities for people with disabilities requires improved access to basic education, vocational training relevant to labour market needs and jobs suited to their skills, interests and abilities, with adaptations as needed. Many societies are also recognizing the need to dismantle other barriers - making the physical environment more accessible, providing information in a variety of formats, and challenging attitudes and mistaken assumptions about people with disabilities. There is no recent data on the situation of people with disabilities in Kenya. Some numbers are available, although these do not give an accurate picture of the number of disabled people living in the country. Applying the WHO recommended 15 per cent to today’s Kenyan population of approximately 41 million1 would indicate that there may be some 6 million disabled people. Many disabled people in Kenya, as in most developing countries in the world, live in poverty, have limited opportunities for accessing education, health, suitable housing and employment opportunities. The Government of Kenya has adopted a number of laws and policies pertaining to people with disabilities, including their right to productive and decent work and basic services. They include: 2010 Constitution of Kenya, which was promulgated in 27th August explicitly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of health status and disability. 2 3 • The Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003, is a comprehensive law covering rights, rehabilitation and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. It created the National Council of Persons with Disabilities as a statutory organ to oversee the welfare of persons with disabilities. The Law also requires that both public and private sector employers reserve 5 per cent of jobs for disabled persons. It needs a whole repeal to reflect and be in line with the new constitution and the UNCRPD. • The National Security Act, (Chapter 258, Laws of Kenya), mentions invalidity benefits for worker incapacitated before the established retirement age. • National Social Security Fund Act, 1965 (No. 5 of 1997), amended 2001, contains a provision which states that physical and mental disabilities shall not be considered as leading to work incapacity. • The Workmen’s Compensation Act, (Chapter 236, Laws of Kenya), recognizes disability but only where it has been acquired during and in the course of work. • 2014 basic education act , crucial to the attainment of universal primary education, removes all levies that previously prevented children especially those from poor economic backgrounds from accessing education. The scheme has been extended to special education and schools for children with disabilities, through the provision of additional funding to meet the needs of children with disabilities in schools. • National Development Plan (2002- 2008), focused on strengthening vocational rehabilitation centres for people with mental and physical disabilities and affirmative action in areas of employment, vocational training and education. • Vision 2030, provides a long-term development framework and initiatives aimed at sustaining rapid economic growth and tackling poverty. The plan follows soon after the implementation of the Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS), 2003-2007. Under Vision 2030, Kenya hopes to become a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. Other legislation to promote opportunities for people with disabilities has been drafted. These include: --The labor act 2007 which aims to combat discrimination faced by various groups, including people with disabilities. The act also prohibits employers from paying employees differently for work of equal value. -- The Draft National Disability Policy, which operationalizes the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 by providing guidelines for the implementation of the Act. --The 2014 Special Needs Education Policy, which provides a roadmap for the education of children with disabilities. --The Social Protection Policy. About 46 per cent of all Kenyans live below the poverty line while 19 per cent live in extreme poverty. This draft policy aims at cushioning the most vulnerable citizens against the ravages of poverty. The policy also identifies orphans and vulnerable children, persons with disabilities and older persons as the priority targets for social protection. Key ministries and agencies responsible for disability issues The Ministry of labor social security and children services is the focal point for disability issues in Kenya. Among its many services, the Ministry is responsible for 12 rural rehabilitation centres throughout the country and Nairobi’s Industrial Rehabilitation Centre, which trains persons with disabilities for jobs. The National Rehabilitation Committee of the Department of Social Services also provides for vocational rehabilitation services. It is decentralized into 49 District Rehabilitation Centres. Activities undertaken by the centres are part of the National Rehabilitation Programme, which was established to provide persons with disabilities with the opportunity to acquire employable skills. The National Council for Persons with Disabilities, the official arm of the government on disability issues, is under the Ministry of labor social security and children services. Education The Ministry of Education supports placement of children with disabilities mainstream schools. Other significant bodies: --The Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE), a government institution established in 1986, with the aim of meeting the educational needs of disabled children, youth and adults. --The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, established through an Act of parliament, monitors abuse of human rights in Kenya. Key international standards on disability and their status • International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958, (No. 111). Status: ratified, May 2001. • ILO Convention Concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons), 1983, (No. 159). Status: ratified, 27 March 1990. • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and Optional Protocol. Status: ratified on 19 May 2008. Kenya works to implement the Action Plan established for the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, extended to December 2019. Currently there is an action plan 2015 on accessibility and establishment of UNCRPD monitoring group in Kenya. 4 The role of the ILO The primary goal of the ILO today is to promote opportunities for everyone, including people with disabilities, to obtain decent and productive work, based on the principles of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. The ILO works to achieve its goals of decent work for all through promoting labour standards, advocacy, knowledge building and technical cooperation services and partnerships, both within the ILO and externally. The Kenya Decent Work Country programme establishes the framework for delivery of ILO action. In Kenya, a current ILO technical cooperation project on disability is “Promoting Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities through a Disability Inclusion Support Service” (INCLUDE). The project built capacity at regional and national levels to effectively support the full participation of women entrepreneurs with disabilities in entrepreneurship development activities conducted under the ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality (WEDGE) programme. INCLUDE also involves advocacy and awareness-raising activities to promote decent work for persons with disabilities. This ended in 2005 The way forward Productive and decent work enables people with disabilities to realize their aspirations, improve their living conditions and participate more actively in society. Ensuring a disability perspective in all aspects of policy and labour legislation, effective implementation and enforcement of existing disability laws and policies and providing for equal employment opportunities and training are among the factors that contribute to the reduction of poverty and to the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities in Kenya. Skills and Employability www.mugambipaul.com
Thursday, 1 March 2018
On 30th of Jan, a woman (her alias name is Yoko Sato) in her 60s with intellectual difficulties brought her case to court to ask for an apology and compensation because she was sterilised forcibly by the govenment when she was 15. This is the first lawsuit in Japan for the forced sterilisation without consent. I believe it is a big step forward. For more than twenty years, some survivors including Junko IIzuka (alias name) who brought her human rights case to the Japan Federetion of Bar of Associations in 2015) , have asked for an apology and compensation. However, the records seem to have been destroyed and not found in hospital nor in the local governments. It was too difficult for survivors to move to the lawsuit without such records. The Japanese government has been inactive in finding,keeping and disclosing the records of sterilisation. Last year,a woman in her 60s (Yoko Sato) and her family (Michiko Sato) contacted Mr. Niisato, a lawyer who supported Ms. IIzuka to bring human rights case to the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. Fortunately, some records were kept in Miyagi prefectual government which proved Ms. Sato was sterilised under the Eugenic Law. It is the first case in which records of survivors who spoke up were discovered. In these kinds of lawsuits, the documents for evidence were owned and kept by governments, which made it difficult for survivors to sue. The Japanese government has been ignoring the matter even though UN Human Rights Comittees have already issued recommendations for compensation several times since 1998. After Ms.Sato brought her case to court, the media such as newspapers and internet news began to broadcast about forced sterlisation under the Eugenic Law. Some documents discovered by journalists show an active role by the Ministry of Health in implementation of the Eugenic Law. The government's attitude is slightly changing now. Some in the government think they cannot ignore the matter any longer. It is good but at the same time, I am very afraid of how the compensation framework will be made. I think involvement of survivors is critical when the compensation framework is made because the process of involvement is effective for recovery of survivors.But it is not certain. To what extent must victims be covered? Inmates of the institutions for Hansen disease were asked to sign the consent of sterilisation when they got married. They agreed but they had no options. The most important thing is we have to change the system so as not to happen again. To do so, it is necessary to investigate deeply why and how the matter happened. I would like to know how the compensation programmes are done in other countries which compensation programme has been made already and what is the best way. If there is anyone who has good knowledge about the compensation practice for survivors, please let me know. Naoko Kawaguchi The followings are news articles on the matter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va49ZEzneV Japan TImes https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/30/national/crime-legal/woman-sues-government-japan-forced-sterilization-scrapped-eugenics-law/#.WnJyzojFKUk BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42877227 BioEdge https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/first-compensation-claim-for-compulsory-sterilisation-in-japan/12578 Followings are related Articles ■Documents on sterilizations of people with disabilities found in Kanagawa YOKOHAMA -- Official documents recording the reasons and other backgrounds for a… (2017/11/18) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20171118/p2a/00m/0na/020000c ■Kobe hospital under fire for publication submission lauding past forced sterilizations KOBE -- Hyogo Prefectural Kobe Children's Hospital is under fire from over 45 or… (2017/11/1) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20171101/p2a/00m/0na/018000c ■Official docs support disabled woman's claim about 1972 forced sterilization SENDAI -- A woman with an intellectual disability is thought to have undergone f… (2017/7/27) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170727/p2a/00m/0na/016000c ■Lawyer group seeks gov't apology, redress for victims of former sterilization law The Japan Federation of Bar Associations disclosed a written statement on Feb. 2… (2017/2/23) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170223/p2a/00m/0na/009000c ■UN committee urges Japanese gov't to compensate forcibly sterilized disabled women The United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women… (2016/3/14) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160314/p2a/00m/0na/017000c ■Disabled Japanese women headed to Geneva to testify on mistreatment before U.N. Committee Kumiko Fujiwara of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, is one among many Japanese women with… (2016/2/5) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160205/p2a/00m/0na/015000c
Dear Friends and Family Caregivers, Making our own decisions about where and how we work, live, play, and access needed services is critical to improving our quality of life as adults—and teaching our children how to do this is an important part of our job as parents and educators. For children with disabilities, this skill is especially essential. People with disabilities are too often treated as passive recipients of what may be well intended but misguided and patronizing efforts to help them—efforts that can disempower self-determination, cause dependence, and limit options. Building the capacity of children with disabilities to become independent decision makers—to the maximum degree possible—is a vital responsibility parents and educators have as we teach our children to move from riding in the passenger seat to making decisions about their own lives. Even for children who may never be fully independent, our goal must be to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, the passions, priorities and preferences of the individual are at the center of our planning, teaching and service delivery. For students with disabilities, teaching self-advocacy ensures that students: * Are able to appropriately describe their abilities and needs, and the accommodations and assistance that support their learning * Are actively involved in setting realistic goals for their learning * Know their rights and how to use them effectively * Understand and honor the rights of others * Take responsibility for their own health (mental, physical, sexual) * Make and effectively communicate choices * Learn how to interact with those in authority-teachers, therapists, doctors, law enforcement, judges and others who may exercise some level of control over their choices and options * Know how to ask for help and fix mistakes One of the best places to start teaching children about self-advocacy is in IEP or children clubs meetings. Including them in meetings provides an opportunity to learn and practice important life skills. Even very young students can: * Understand more about their disability and how it impacts learning * Hear about and contribute to discussions about how things are going * Participate in goal setting and team decisions * Learn how to communicate for themselves and make choices The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education requirement that students be invited to their IEP meetings by the age of 16. Studies should be introduse so as to sho that the sooner students get involved in their own meetings, the faster they learn to advocate for themselves. Even when students do not speak, they can often indicate consent in other ways with the team's help to make their feelings known. Parents tell us that when the student attends the IEP, there is often a more collaborative feel to the meetings, because what is at stake—the future of a child is literally present during the process. If you feel your child is too young to participate in the entire meeting, or that some of the discussion (the results of a mental health assessment with sensitive information, for example) may be too difficult, you may choose to include them for part of the meeting only (for example, goal setting or discussions about services), or to get their input in other ways, such as a video, a written statement they dictate to a parent or teacher, Skype, or even a picture they draw or photo you take of them that helps the team see the "whole child." Generally, information shared in a meeting about a student should be shared with the student in an appropriate way. If a child is very resistant or anxious about attending, don't force it—but do think about including a proposed IEP goal focused on helping the child learn these critical skills as part of their education program the following year. Try to get their input in video, audio or written form ahead of time. And always insist that the IEP be "strengths based" so that a child doesn't experience a meeting about their "deficits" only. These meetings should always include a celebration of the student's successes and strengths, and identify areas that the team, as a whole, needs to focus on in order to improve the educational outcome of the student. Focus the team on helping the student enter adulthood with a "toolkit" of essential skills and experiences they can use to build their own future. Parents sometimes tell us that they don't want their child to come to a meeting because they fear that hearing about the disability may make their child feel "bad" about themselves. But in our experience, the sooner a child learns that disability is part of the human experience – the sooner they can come to accept the disability as one part of who they are. Learning about disability history and pride allows a child (and an educator) to reimagine diversity as a strength. This helps students better advocate for the support, services, and opportunities that will help them achieve their dreams while proudly claiming all parts of their identity in addition to reminding them that they are not alone. Reminder: Get involved and become a leader! I hope this dream of mine will not go in to the thin air. one day Kenyans with disabilities will realize. udongo ubatilize ungali maji. for more read www.mugambipaul.com