Livestock husbandry is the principal economic activity among pastoralists, and children are taught how to care for animals from a young age.
The geographical zone they occupy necessitates endurance due to climate constraints that need continual movement of animals from one location to another in search of grass and water. This obligation falls squarely on the shoulders of the young, even morans.
As a result, any child born is expected to grow into a strong individual capable of herding animals and even protecting the community in the event of hostility.
However, this is not always the case, and some children are born with abnormalities due to a variety of circumstances. These youngsters have no economic or social worth in the community.
According to Ms Silakan, a nurse by profession, most children born with disabilities are the first born, a scenario that may be exacerbated by adolescent pregnancies and a lack of health care resources in remote areas.
Having a disabled baby is seen as a curse for a first-time parent, and is usually blamed on the wife. The mother may be neglected or even sent back to her parents if the husband marries a second wife.
“If the mother of a deformed kid is fortunate enough not to be sent, the child will suffer for the rest of his or her life.” “Some are tied up in goat cages with no food, and in the case of girls, they are vulnerable to rape,” says Silakan.
She observes that discrimination against these kids is equally frequent in urban centers during pastoralist communities’ social gatherings.
“I have two boys, but one of them, Sang’ida, is 20 years old, and the first is a special needs child.” “Unfortunately, my second child is not invited to birthday parties, leaving his elder sibling out,” she explains.
Silakan started the group to educate the community about accepting children with special needs and refraining from mistreating them as a result of this knowledge.
Margaret was one of tens of parents who came in Dol Dol Town, Laikipia North, for the introduction of the Sang’ida Foundation, whose purpose is to urge parents not to shy away from or hide their disabled children.
Leshipen Lerosion of Rap Village plays with his two-year-old daughter, who cannot walk or talk.
According to the father, his third born child acquired a health condition on the eighth day and has only been able to feed on soft food since then. “We took her to numerous medical facilities, but her condition has not improved.”
“We have now resolved to provide her with the necessary assistance while waiting for God’s intervention,” Lerosion says, sitting next to his wife, who is expecting their fourth child.