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Madam i can't allow you through this gate ' I am following orders from above'

Parents and Relatives of the Mentally Handicapped Children holding one of the banners

March 30th 2011 was a defining moment for me, I was a mad and angry Kenyan, I felt ashamed of being called Kenyan, not because I hated my country but because we had chosen to sit back and watch others suffer.
We had chosen to be passive listeners and active debaters. We had chosen to watch through our grilled doors and gates as activists are driven down by teargas. Actively passive in our country.

That morning I was held hostage by some (Askaris ) guards at NSSF( Nation Social Security Funds House , they couldn’t allow me to pass through the upper gate linking to Bishop’s road. (Community Area)
They kept on chasing us from the gate , I decided to take pictures of them and twit them to my live audience on fb and twitter.I still did not know why the women and men on the other side were screaming on the top of their voices ‘Haki yetu! Haki Yetu!’ (It’s Our Right!, Its Our Right!)
So I decided to get out of the NSSF building and use the longer route to work.Armed with my cheap smart phone , I was now a citizen journalist enroute to work, ready to take pictures of what was around me.
( By the way, the road where the demonstrators were is the only way I can get to work, so I decided to brace myself with whatever awaited me , the police were already there with their teargas and canisters, onlookers were presently conspicuous gazing from the very gate I was some minutes ago.

I have never been overcome by emotion, I saw many children, others strapped on their mothers’ backs, others being fed, and all this children were mentally handicapped, very innocent children. Honestly speaking, I had never seen many mentally handicapped children like this before.
I was curious , so I stopped one of the women and asked her why they were there? She told me in the year 2009 the Minister of Finance had allocated an allowance to be given to parents with mentally handicapped children and since then, they had not received the fund. So they had decided to come together with other parents with mentally handicapped children to have audience with the minister of Gender to tell them why they had not received the money yet the Budget read by the Minister had made a provision for them.
I left the women feeling helpless, I wish I could do something for them, but all I did was a note on Facebook and twitted about their pleas.

'We too are Kenyans and we deserve help'


Myrthe's picture

By tweeting and writing about

By tweeting and writing about these people's protests, you did something: you gave them a voice. It may be a small thing, but it is something. Thank you for sharing your story!

pheebsabroad's picture

Culturally relevant

Your story is so incredibly culturally relevant to people around the world, citizen journalism has become an important part of the debate throughout the world, East to West and North to South. I wish you the best of luck spreading the word of the people in your community sometimes the smallest actions mean the most!


Frances Faulkner's picture



We all have our moments of awakening, for our entire lives, where suddenly we see or hear or read something that helps us to understand the world a little better, how people are suffering or enduring or being triumphant, and we learn from all of those. This experience was such a learning moment for you and yet you even took it a step farther, standing up by tweeting and posting. Good for you. You have a new community to understand, and perhaps, through you, they have a new correspondent to help them gain voice.


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