It was jubilation in two schools in Kenya on June 24 when LG Electronics East Africa handed over new facilities to two schools in Machakos County. One of the schools caters for the needs of children who have hearing impairments and the other for learners from under-privileged families.
The improved education infrastructure will benefit 625 pupils at Machakos School for the Deaf and Kyumbi School. Of these, 225 have hearing impairments but will now access equal learning opportunities that promote inclusion, thanks to LG’s commitment to alleviating the challenges facing millions of people around the world facing discrimination and less opportunities.
The initiative is a collaboration between LG and Habitat for Humanity. Besides the improved physical infrastructure, LG also donated appliances including refrigerators, washing machines and microwave ovens for use in the kitchens, dining rooms and staff offices at both institutions.
(TOP: LG Electronics MD for East and Central Africa, Sa Nyoung Kim – centre – is joined by Kanini Mbondo and Magdalene Kamene, Class Six pupils at the Machakos School for the Deaf. Hundreds of learners with disabilities will benefit from a project supported by the company in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Kenya. It aims to improve learning infrastructure, water, sanitation and hygiene).
The gesture by LG will greatly improve learning for the pupils and is an example of how the company is supporting communities to achieve inclusion, diversity and equality.
Sustainability of communities is anchored on inclusion and equal opportunities in the education system. Inclusion in education is linked to diversity in that every student, regardless of their ability and background, has the opportunity to access learning and all the benefits that come with it in life.
Hearing challenges cause difficulties in learning as conventional institutions do not cater for their special needs. Yet hearing is critical to developing speech and language skills, learning and communication. This requires cooperation by government, communities and organisations and individuals of goodwill.
By supporting Machakos School for the Deaf, LG is also contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals especially goal number 4 on education. All people, including persons with disabilities and those in vulnerable situations or other status, should have access to inclusive, equitable, quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.
UNESCO promotes inclusive education systems that remove the barriers limiting participation and achievement of all learners and respect diverse needs. The global body emphasizes the importance of creating equal opportunities for children with disabilities as they are over-represented in the population of children who do not attend school.
“We are creating an inclusive learning environment especially for children who are hearing-impaired, but also those from under-privileged communities but have a great desire to acquire education, so as to improve their lives and build a better future for themselves and their families and communities” says Mr. Sa Nyoung Kim, LG Electronics East Africa Managing Director.
Lack of proper amenities especially in schools in hardship environments also impedes learning. By investing in 2 new ECD classrooms, a kitchen block and latrines, the CSR initiative by LG is about creating a conducive environment for children from poor communities.
This project is also important to us since it is aligned with the international Sustainable Development Goals, that is, goal number 4 on promoting inclusive and equitable education.
The Kenya Basic Education Act (2013) recommends that the school environment and facilities should accommodate the various categories of learners with special needs. This is however a challenge due to inadequate infrastructure. Many students with disabilities in Kenya are not enrolled in school, a violation of their rights.