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July 01, 2014 | Africa: Kenya

Nandi county, Kenya, finds a heroine in Mrs. Kaittany

By Mr John Makathimo

Special Olympics Kenya was introduced to the Nandi County by a very courageous lady, Mrs. Rhoda Kaittany. Mrs. Kaittany was determined to seek help for her son, who has an intellectual disability, in a region that didn’t cater to children with special needs. She took it upon herself to create the infrastructure needed to support a Special Olympics program in Nandi County, to find children with intellectual disabilities who were not in school, to find teachers and chiefs who were willing to be trained as coaches, to procure corporate sponsorship, and to identify facilities to host Special Olympics events. Her valiant efforts paid off and the Nandi program was launched with support from local government and a commitment to include the new sub-program in budget allocation for the 2014-2015 fiscal years. With this support the county was able to host its first county competitions in May at the Aldia Girls Secondary School. Approximately 45 athletes, 9 Unified partners and 45 family members attended the competitions. A remarkable highlight in Mrs. Kaittany's story is the discovery of three children with an intellectual disability who had grown up in virtual isolation due to the lack of facilities in the region, one was even tied with a rope and locked in a sheep’s pen to keep him out of harm's way. Happily these three youths are now involved with Special Olympics and were able to participate in the competitions. Mrs. Kiattanty remarked that one looked overjoyed about being outside, while another seemed shocked as if he was seeing the world for the very first time. The county put on a great competition for the athletes and provided them with entertainment in song, dance and poems that was thoroughly enjoyed by the family members and community who came out in full support to witness their children reveal their true potential.

About Mr John Makathimo: Special Olympics Kenya National Director
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