Launch of UoN CSR/Health Week 2023 and Ride4Autism Flag Off
On March 31, 2023, The University of Nairobi co-organized the ride4autism flag off event, and concurrently launched the annual CSR and Health Week, at the Graduation Square. The event was graced by several notable guests, including UoN Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Brian Ouma, Senator Crystal Asige, representative of Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) in the Kenyan Senate, Kenya Institute of Special education (KISE) representative Peter Ndichu, Ministry of Health representative Rose Mwangangi, and Standard Group representative Khadija Mohammed. The Speakers spoke passionately about supporting children with neuro disorders and promoting inclusivity.
During the event, the Acting Director of the University Health Services, Dr. Lucy Kabare, encouraged all sponsors to donate in support of children with neurodiverse disorders. Dr. Sylvia Mucharo, the founder of Andy Speaks for special needs persons, spoke about the challenges faced by parents bringing up children with disabilities. “The riders for the ride4autism will be travelling to Kilifi, covering a total of 540 kilometers to represent the endurance of parents raising children with disability as they journey with their kids” she reiterated
Speaking on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, the Chief Operations Officer Mr. Brian Ouma, emphazised that the event was crucial to the University and parents alike. He stressed on the importance of UoN values of care and community engagement, highlighting the three medical camps that will be held during the UoN CSR and Health week in Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nairobi campuses. “As a reasonable corporate entity, we recognize the importance of building strong relationship with the community,” said Mr. Ouma
Dr. Wambani Sidika, also a board member at Andy Speaks, gave advice to parents on how to detect early signs of autism in children and urged them to seek immediate medical attention when necessary. " Some of the conditions we get is due to ignorance and once we know what is right and wrong then we will tend to edge to that which is right. The human body is universal and treatment of diseases is therefore universal. When you have a sick child don't criticize but instead rush them to the nearest medical center." Said Ms. Sidika
Speaking on behalf of Standard Media Group that was the official media patner, Ms. Khadija Mohammed expressed the need for more awareness on disability matters to promote inclusivity and better the community. Her counterpart from KISE Mr. Peter Ndichu, highlighted the critical role played by KISE in training teachers to support children with disabilities. “At the end of the day they are human beings and have potential for greatness just like the rest of us. We offer therapy services to children and we also offer rehabilitation to those who get disability in their late years. We are very grateful for our cyclists willing to take the journey to Kilifi and proud of them for the dedication and endurance they are willing to take."
In her key remarks, Senator Crystal Asige advocated for the need to have a year-long autism awareness campaign. She called for more government action to improve the lives of persons with disabilities and urged families to support their children's journey by providing even the most basic of education. “I'm working the hardest I can in parliament to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities in Kenya. I will work towards change for them in the person's disability act. I want myself my life and my story to be used as an example to show that just because one has disability, it doesn't mean that the disability has them. Senator Crystal Asige remarked.
Overall, the event was a great success in raising awareness and support for children with disabilities, promoting inclusivity, and building stronger relationships with the community. It is hoped that the momentum generated by the event will continue to inspire individuals, organizations, and the government to take action towards improving the lives of persons with disabilities.