TVETs Pioneering an Inclusive Future through the Work & Respect Project
Thanks to the Work & Respect Project, Nakuru, and Molo Vocational Training Centres have become pacesetters in inclusive training by creating an environment where every student, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.
As the great adage states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Over the past two years, a remarkable journey has unfolded, showcasing significant advancements in disability inclusion at the Nakuru and Molo Vocational Training Institutes. These advancements are evident not only in the physical infrastructure but also in the profound transformation of mindset, which has played a vital role in establishing a barrier-free training environment.
“The enrolment of youth with disabilities has increased since the inception of the Work & Respect Project. The number of students with disabilities has steadily increased from 2-4-21-45 in the past two years, said Mr. Nicholas Koech, the Principal of the Molo training centre
Mr. Koech credits the Project for enhancing their understanding of disability inclusion and universal design through the capacity building of both their teaching and non-teaching fraternity on Disability Inclusion and Equity Training and Disability Inclusion Score Card training.
The Principal ascertains that the first cohort of students with disabilities served as an eye-opener, dispelling the misconception that they were less capable than their peers without disabilities which prompted the training centre to open its doors to trainees with disabilities who had previously been overlooked.
The training has not only shifted the mindset of the staff but also fostered a culture of inclusivity. “The general perception of the staff on disability has changed. As a result of disability inclusion, none of them thinks disability is something unique but part of us,” echoed Mr. Koech.
Notably, the project has also had a positive influence on parental involvement in their children’s education. Mr. Koech mentions that during the rollout of the project, there was a dependency syndrome among parents, leading to a lack of contribution even in providing personal effects for their children. However, the teachers intervened and emphasized the importance of parental engagement in their children’s education, resulting in increased participation.
Nakuru Vocational Training Centre Principal Mr. Solomon Muli, highlights the project’s success in paving the way for other students with disabilities. Out of the four students initially enrolled, three successfully completed their training and passed their final examinations by the National Industrial Training Institute.
Recognizing the importance of mainstreaming disability issues, Molo and Nakuru VTCs established Disability Mainstreaming Committee and a special committee respectively to support youth with disabilities and even expectant trainees. The Molo VTC has also institutionalized the practice of reserving 30% to 40% of hostel accommodations during intakes, ensuring a secure and pleasant learning environment for these students.
In addition to the systemic changes, both training centres have made modifications to their infrastructure, including accessible washrooms, further enhancing the overall accessibility for students with disabilities.
“We didn’t experience any difficulty supporting the Work & Respect trainees. Their stay here was fully facilitated by Cheshire Disability Services Kenya. We appreciate the work that Liliane Foundation and CDSK are doing in supporting youths with disabilities,” said Muli
Work & Respect team, stakeholders and trainees posing for a group photo outside Molo TVC during Regional Monitoring Visit by the Technical Advisor Ms. Lucy from LIliane Foundation in Kenya.