Patricia Scotland was welcomed with flowers at the Orione Community Training Centre on 25 March, a not-for-profit organization, and school for children with mental and intellectual disabilities in Nairobi.
The Secretary-General was shown how the children are being taught skills enabling them to lead as full and active lives as possible.
She said: “It is a beautiful thing to see what is being done to care for children who are quite often left behind. Here, children are moving from a place of vulnerability to a place of strength and I celebrate everyone involved in shaping the lives of these children and ensuring no one is left behind.”
The centre helps children with mental and physical disabilities and intellectual impairments such as hydrocephaly, microcephaly, down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy.
The centre’s director, Father Alejandro Yañez, conveyed the gratitude of the community to the Secretary-General for her visit.
He said: “Children with mental conditions and syndromes are the most vulnerable in society and we all need to work to raise awareness and make this reality visible because once we have witnessed it and seen it at first hand, it is far less likely we shall remain indifferent. All these children have something to offer to humanity and, in my opinion, they help to make us more human.”
In 2019, The Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network (CCYDN) was launched and convened its first strategic meeting in London, with the aim to increase access to various platforms designed to help young people with disabilities influence positive change on issues which matter to them.
The Commonwealth Youth Programme has also been working with the Network to conduct capacity building sessions in line with the CCYDN COVID-19 global statement and recommendations.