The First Lady Dr. Mary Lonyang’apuo paid a courtesy call to St. Francis School for the Visually Impaired. The school, which is the only one of its kind in Rift Valley, has a total of 80 students in the secondary section and 124 students in the primary section. The pioneer school for the special needs children was established so as to help the visually impaired attain their dreams.
“We are here today to find out your progress and what you envision to do in the near future so that we see where we can come in.” She said.
The First Lady said that she and her team first visited Thika School for the blind on a benchmarking tour so that they could compare the two institutions in order to know how best to improve St Francis.
The secondary section Principal Mr. David Losili expressed his gratitude for the visit by The First Lady. “This is a historical day because we have never had any one from County Government since the inception of devolution. We have very many urgent and pressing needs. Our first and very important one is land. St. Francis has now grown since the introduction of the secondary school. We do not have enough room for expansion as our land is very small.” He said.
The school caters for the totally blind and those that have low vision and their mobility around the school depend walking aids. The principal says that the students are enduring very difficult times. It is the same case with the primary section.
“We feel privileged to have you here today. This is a sign of good things to come. We believe that your coming is timely and is a sign that we will now get solutions to our problems. Our students have been studying under very tough conditions.”
The school lacks very basic materials for studying such as braille material which are very expensive. One braille machine costs around Ksh.100, 000. The school is also in need of large print books for students who have low vision.
The teachers also expressed the need to have dormitories for the ECD students. At the moment students are sharing dormitories with the older students. Feeding area for the students, staff toilets, housing for staff that are visually impaired, playing field and sports equipment are some of the needs the school needs help on.
St. Francis School for the visually impaired boasts of several accolades won in various competitions. One of the outstanding accomplishments was winning the National Music Festival for the Impaired. They also have two students who were selected to represent the country in London Athletics.
The First Lady was accompanied by the Director in The Office of The First Lady Isaac Molo and Norman Siywat – Legal Advisor to The Governor.