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Keywords:

  • disabilities;
  • community;
  • visual impairments;
  • social integration;
  • employment

Last year, Martyn Rouse organised a project focused on inclusive education for the British Council. As part of the link between the University of Cambridge, the Ministry of Education in Kenya and Kenyatta University, your editor was lucky enough to be invited to visit Kenya. Martyn and I spent much of our time running workshops and attending meetings, but we were also able to visit some schools in far-flung rural areas. I recall walking into one village where a group of school children were walking down the street in an orderly line. When they saw us, their curiosity and excitement overtook them and they started to call out: ‘mzungu! mzungu!’, which means ‘white man’. They laughed and waved and it was an unusual, and rather pleasant, feeling for me to be regarded as something so exotic and rare. But when I met Alex Munyere, at a workshop on inclusive education in Nakuru, I came to see another side to the experience of being perceived as different. Alex has albinism, which means that he has blond hair and white skin and experiences some difficulties with his sight. He is also a member of the Maasai community, who traditionally live under the broad, tropical skies of the heartlands of Kenya. In this article, Alex Munyere recalls his childhood and his life at school. He provides a fascinating first-hand account of the experience of living with a disability. Alex is now a respected professional who works with children with special educational needs in the assessment centre in Kajiado district in Kenya. He is a quiet and dignified man but he is passionately committed to the development of inclusion in his country. These qualities are evident in the thoughtful reflections he provides here on the relationships between specialist provision and the development of an inclusive society. I suggest that Alex's story can be instructive for us all.