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Abigail's story

Abigail, a nine year-old from Kisumu Kenya, is deafblind and has cerebral palsy. Sense International identified her in 2009 and has been working with her ever since. Through the community-based education (CBE) programme, Abigail learns from her teacher Jen, a 'master trainer', providing education and support to Abigail and her parents.

Abigail’s mother, Joyce, highlighted her frustration of enduring the stigma that continues to surround disability in Kenya.

“When you have a child with disability, poverty knocks on your door”

Abigail has multiple impairments and as a consequence Joyce has had to leave her job, and believes that the stigma surrounding disability has affected her future employment opportunities.

Abigail is part of the Sense International CBE project supported by the Big Lottery Fund. This means that Abigail is able to learn important communication and life skills. It also means that her parents can take advantage of transient paid work which helps to alleviate some of the financial burden.

Abigail with her support teacher

Through benefiting from the CBE programme, Abigail can now walk. She can also see lights, dances and enjoys drumming and interacting with other children.

Community-based education can help to develop essential life skills and to prepare children with complex needs for inclusive education in mainstream schools. Based on SI’s learning, these programmes are successful when community-based health supports are coordinated with education.

Abigail and Jen have been working together for three years now and, because of the specific training Jen has received, she is helping Abigail reach her full potential and her parents to understand Abigail’s disability and how they can best contribute to Abigail’s continued development.


Photos from “Accessing inclusive education for children with disabilities in Kenya” (PDF) – a report produced following a visit from four UK Parliamentarians from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to Kenya to examine the realities of delivering inclusive education to children with disabilities.

First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 20 September 2017