Honoring Chesaina, Baringo teacher changing special needs children’s lives

Chikldren with special needs at Simotwet Primary School for the Special Children. PHOTO/Courtesy.
  • She is a senior teacher and the founder of the special needs unit at Simotwet Special Primary School. 
  • Chesaina plans to organize a banquet at her home for the candidates, and by the time they come back, the rest will have left for the holidays. 
  • The education sector in Kenya has trained special trainers like Chesina to cater to special kids through special schools. 

Suppose there is one of the people living amongst us with a heart of gold, a definition of what humanity should be, the Mother Teresa of our times, the rose that is being trampled on the ground.

In that case, I will undoubtedly point you to Chebet Chesaina from Eldama Ravine sub-county, Baringo County.

She wears her crown with pride, and despite the rough terrain she goes through, it never falls off. The senior teacher returned to school in 2002 and 2005 to upgrade her expertise.  

She is a senior teacher and the founder of the special needs unit at Simotwet Special Primary School. 

She has been doing that all her career, from when she was in St. Patrick Shimoni Primary School in Eldama Ravine sub-county from 1993 to 2023.  

The class eight candidates are five, while in grade six, she has three special candidates. However, the students are lamenting about the separation and would love to keep their fellow students company.

She plans to organize a banquet at her home for the candidates, and by the time they come back, the rest will have left for the holidays. 

These home visits to her place are not rare; her home is always open for special children. 

She has even built extra, special bathrooms and sliding ways in and out of her home to accommodate them despite not having any child of her own living with a disability, a rare gesture. 

Her heart was broken when she was transferred and separated from the special kids she had lived to raise as her own for over thirty years. 

However, she never gave up and started her passion for caring for the special kids in her new school. 

This did not come easy as her radiation of love and care to the kids and their parents would see some parents transfer their kids to where she was posted. 

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) recognized Chesaina as the best teacher in Baringo County 2023 during the International Teacher’s Day held recently. 

Other 500 teachers were recognized too in Kenya. 

She says this position puts her in an excellent position to improve the school where she has children with special needs.

The theme during World Teachers’ Day was The Teachers we need for the education we want

The recognition was announced by the TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia. She said teachers have done well in giving quality education in schools. 

This is a door opener to many accolades she has yet to receive. 

Her resilience and sharp jaws would see her overcome unfair scrutiny and interference in the line of her duty. 

She would never say this as she sees no pride in it, but even the ones in charge of her and the education system in the county have tried so much to dim her shine in the quest to protect the children living with disabilities. 

Doors were often shut on her, with excuses like, `you do not have the papers`.

Mrs. Chebet Chesaina during the Teachers Day celebrations recently. PHOTO/Courtesy.

In one of our long talks, I recall her insinuating that taking care of children living with disabilities is a calling. 

Her farm produce is not only for her own children but for her special students too. 

She says when things are thick, her brothers are always supportive and have gotten used to the fact that she is a mother of many and have been her backbone.

This resonates so well with her, as she would never let one of her sheep fall off, she would walk to villages looking for them, and her authority would remind the child’s family of how important and equal their child is despite being born with a disability which is not an inability.

She has seen the children living with disabilities through school with their parents’ support and well-wishers. She gives hope to parents who feel like giving up along the way. 

In some communities in Kenya, there are beliefs that having a child born with a disability is a form of curse or a bad omen. 

The current world, however, has allowed different bodies to sensitize communities on the fact that it is not supposed to be so and special children are equal as the rest. 

They should not be left separated from the community, or left to fend for themselves begging, or even wished death. 

Instead, the various forms of disabilities have now been categorized and institutions to attend to the various special needs formed in order to address such special children with focus. 

The education sector in Kenya has trained special trainers like Chesaina to cater to special kids through special schools. 

Sensitization has gradually faded ignorance from some communities; this has created ways of identifying the causes of disabilities through various societies like cerebral palsy, sensitizing communities and parents on how to identify whether a child has cerebral palsy or not. 

Hospitals, through doctors, also engage such parents more. 

Cerebral palsy, according to Dr. Martin Cheboi, is caused mainly by prolonged labor and the lack of oxygen in the child’s brain. 

It can also be caused by trauma in someone’s head, thus the need to avoid hitting children carelessly and also watching the playfields where the children play that can cause them to have falls that hurt the head.

In Baringo County, hospitals help counsel the parent on exceptional clinic attendance and how the child is supposed to be fed and exercised. 

Though some families keep their children hidden, a follow-up plan is rarely there, but Chesaina moves around checking them up.

The community around and those that have had of her have made plans and visited her in kind to support her and give the special children a comfortable learning environment.

The plea to support her further is to have a special children’s vehicle with specialized seats to ease her students’ movements. 

She also wishes to have well-wishers sponsor these children’s tours and learning trips to expose them just like the other kids. 

Her desire, too, is to have the community help her flash out special children hidden by their families as she depends solely on informers to save a life.

YOU MAY ALSO READ: How Baringo’s journalist chased his passion despite challenges

Just as she was recognized as Baringo’s best teacher, her dreams will be a reality with your support.

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Janet Kiriswo is A Multi-lingual certified professional Journalist (English, Swahili and Native Kalenjin). Holder of a Bachelor`s degree in PR & Communication skills from Moi University, A Diploma in Mass Communication from The Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, (KIMC), with over 15 years active experience in the media industry. She thrives in covering stories matters that touches on Business, Health, community, Culture and Traditional issues and progress, Politics, Interviews and leaderships among others. She poses other skills in Public Relationship, Communication consultant, Radio presentation, broadcasting, visual feature stories, video/voice recording and editing among others. She strongly believes in changing the world through Communication.


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