Saturday, 1 June 2013

Help to save Jacaranda workshop in Kileleshwa Kenya for the people who are mentally disabled, with special needs

 I was sad to hear news about an incident at Jacaranda workshop, Kileleshwa,Nairobi,  on Friday 31st May.The Jacaranda workshop is next door to Jacaranda school.

Jacaranda workshop was started in 1982 to provide training and employment for people with special needs(mentally disabled), who were no longer able to attend Jacaranda school. There is a lack of facilities for adults and children with special needs in Kenya.My understanding is that Jacaranda workshop, is the only one of its kind in Nairobi. The workshop enables teenagers and adults to do something with their lives by offering them employment so that they can help their families, and are not stuck at home, or out on the streets.It can only take 50 people, who are fortunate to get in, as we know there are more than 50 Kenyans out there with special needs. They get some of their funding from the Rotary club Nairobi. You can look at the Jacaranda workshop, website and see what their objectives are.One objective is

Accept suitable handicapped children from the Jacaranda special school for the handicapped and to train them to fabricate costume jewellery and the like or any other trade or vocation and to provide them with employment in such trade or vocation.

The main culprit is John Gitonga, along with  local MP John Simba Arati for Dagoretti North,  the Headmistress of Jacaranda school Dormatita Matheka and some developers(big shots), who want to forcibly take the land where the workshop is located.They are all going to get a cut,if they get rid of the workshop. There was an incident yesterday, where thugs(youths) were hired, who went to the school,using illegal tactics. They  locked some of the staff and the mentally disabled children up, and damaged the workshop property.They intimidated the staff, hoping that they would leave the premises, and not return, and were sending a clear message. The local MP is connected to the people who want to develop the land, and they want that land now, so they can start their venture.

Why should the children, adults with special needs lose their workshop, so that these big shot vultures, can prosper?

Why should people with special needs be punished because these land grabbers, want to make money off the land that they occupy?

What impact will it have on their families if the workshop is closed?

Do any of the people who are responsible for this, have children or relatives who have special needs, and realise how challenging it is, to have them at home ?

The workshop enables people with special needs, to maintain their families, and gives them a purpose.

The police were called to the scene at Kileleshwa yesterday afternoon.The thugs were not arrested, they were released and claimed they had come to greet their MP,unbelievable.Only in Kenya, can you get away with something like this, and not get charged.  Some of the Jacaranda workshop staff went to the press in the evening. My sources tell me  that something should have been on the news, but the powerful vultures  blocked it getting out.

I understand that Christine Kenyatta-Pratt is committed to helping children and adults who are handicapped, and I hope she gets onto this, and that anyone else who has connections in this area will support Jacaranda workshop.

The workshop had hired a lawyer, Mr Kapila a while ago, as this problem has been ongoing. Nothing has moved forward as far as I know.

The big boys did not, and could not mess about, when people like Harrington Awori were on the board, at Jacaranda workshop.

The  workshop cannot and should not be closed.

This is about greed yet again, so that the wealthy can get richer, fill their pockets, and forget about people with disabilities, who need help.

Bure Kabisa, these men have no shame in their game, and are the scum of the earth.

Who serves the disabled?

Big thanks to  Ory Okolloh@Kenyan Pundit for tweeting about this post, thanks to Sue Muthungu,
 Penny Musengi ,Clifford Oluoch ,Kaizoku and everyone else who has retweeted. This situation motivated me to take the Twitter plunge where you can follow me. I know, I am so last century.

Update: The workshop will now be closed until 1st July, in light of recent events.

Some words from John Simba Arati the MP from his twitter account, threats

Please sign the petition here 

or join the Save Jacaranda Facebook page here

If you are having any doubts about signing the petition read Sue Muthungu's powerful post on apathy versus activism, what is your excuse.

Update: Trending254 Sunday 16th June

Update related article below. Note that John Simba Arati vowed to use any means to ensure the workshop reverts to the school. He used Thugs before, what will he use next?

John Simba Arati denies bid to grab centre for disabled  

Paul Simba Arati MP Dagoretti- North. The management of Jacaranda Workshop in Dagoretti North Constituency has accused area MP Simba Arati of plans to kick them out of the 30-year-old yard. Photo/FILE 

An MP has run into trouble with managers of a workshop for the disabled after they claimed he wants to grab it.

The management of Jacaranda Workshop in Dagoretti North Constituency has accused area MP Simba Arati of plans to kick them out of the 30-year-old yard.

The workshop director Rita Rodgers told the Nation on Monday the legislator plans to have it run under Jacaranda Special School in Kileleshwa, Nairobi.

Mr Arati, however, denied trying to grab the workshop but vowed to use any means to ensure it reverts to the school.

Established structures

“How can I grab a workshop which has been long in existence and which has established structures? All I want is for the workshop to be surrendered to the school, nothing else,” he told the Nation on phone.

Ms Rodgers claimed the MP and the new school board demanded last month that the management vacates the workshop, which is run by the Rotary Club of Nairobi.

“The new board of the school supported by the MP gave us 24 hours to leave. Nobody used the right procedure. They never wrote us a letter,” she said.

The school, which sends its pupils to the workshop upon graduation, is a special centre for children with mental disabilities.

However, the workshop was registered as a limited company two years ago and is now under a different management and mainly funded by the club.

Update 20/6/13-Rita Rodgers the Jacaranda workshop manager, received a letter from Jacaranda school, saying she needs to vacate the workshop as the land belongs to the school. They stated that they wanted to meet tomorrow, so that they could take the land on Friday or Saturday. Jacaranda workshop have said no, because they need to assemble the Rotarians who fund the workshop for a meeting.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY - OFFICIAL REPORT (Hansard)  - Tuesday, 18th June, 2013

The House met at 2.30 p.m. [Hon. Speaker (Mr. Muturi) in the Chair]

Do I see a request? You have heard what hon. Kang’ata has said. Hon. Simba 

Hon. Simba: Thank you, hon. Speaker, Sir. I stand on Standing Order No.84. I want to indulge the House concerning the malicious allegations circulating in the media
and social media. Hon. Speaker, Sir, the circulation is a series of attacks on my character. 

Hon. Speaker: Hon. Simba, I have some five minutes for Members to express themselves on the petition presented by hon. Kang’ata, before we come to your Personal

Hon. Simba: Thank you, hon. Speaker, Sir.


Hon. Simba: Hon. Speaker, Sir, my concern is over the malicious allegations circulating in the Daily Nation newspaper, as well as in the social media, that I have grabbed or I am intending to grab Jacaranda Special School land. I want to put the record straight. I confirm that on 30th May, I was invited by the management of the school to oversee a smooth handing over of the workshop of that institution. I want to confirm to this House today that I know the existence of the school. The school happens to be handling special needs for mentally retarded kids. You can imagine that in that school, those kids are stimulated by special teachers who have been seconded by the Government to teach them in preparation for special hearing devices, which are sold in the---

Hon. Speaker: You are supposed to make a Personal Statement!

Hon. Simba: Hon. Speaker, Sir, I want to state that the media, particularly Daily Nation newspaper has depicted clearly that I am a merchant of corruption in my constituency. On page nine of the Daily Nation, they have shown clearly under what circumstances I managed to get into the school and demand that the workshop be returned to the school. I believe, and I want to say that the Daily Nation at Parliament has now narrowed down to individuals. We saw them in the saga of Members of Parliament’s salaries. Indeed, they even went ahead and said that I had received Kshs851,000, yet I have not even received a cent to date. I have been getting disturbing messages, or abuses, all over the social media. I believe that the Daily Nation media has a bone to pick with
me in this business. 

I would like to say that the media has a professional responsibility to give accurate reports not only on hon. Simba but also on any other person in this country. I want to reiterate that I am a Member of the Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology. As long as that school remains in my constituency I will make sure that it reverts the workshop to the mentally disabled kids. It is hard to realize that one individual, who is not even a Kenyan, happens to be running the workshop. 

Hon. Speaker: Hon. Simba, you are now treating the House to some things that-- Maybe, you can present that kind of stuff to the Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology, which you serve on. You claim to be making a Personal Statement but you have now gone on to talk about many things. What is personal about what you have said? I had sympathy when you began saying that they are saying that you are a land grabber. You need to address that by saying that you are not a land grabber. 

Hon. Simba: Hon. Speaker, Sir, I want to point out that given the fact that I have 68 years and around four months to turn 100 years of age, if Jesus Christ does not come back, I have never grabbed even a pencil during my school days. Therefore, when the Daily Nation’s Bulls Eye clip depicts me in my orange T-shirt, and makes it appear as if I have worn a red T-shirt of Jubilee and says that no wonder that is why I am a mono who does not understand the running of the party affairs--- I would like the media, particularly
the Daily Nation to employ professionalism. Thank you, Hon. Speaker, Sir. 

Hon. Speaker: I think what hon. Simba should have done was, maybe, write to the Nation Media Group, of course, and express his annoyance and displeasure and seek an appropriate apology; here he is making a Personal Statement. Hon. Simba, you rose under Standing Order No.84 and, therefore, there is no debate. 

Update 22/6/13

I can confirm that Jacaranda workshop has had its locks changed. The security staff were removed, new security staff installed  with dogs. Simba Arati is posting on his twitter page that the staff have run away. The staff were warned not to return to the workshop, as things could become violent. The Rotarians who managed the workshop are meeting today to see what the next step will be.

Update 24/6/13

John Simba Arati has been removed from the Education and Implementation commitee.

Update 13/7/13

Please read comment dated 12/7/13 from Rita Rodgers who works at Jacaranda workshop.

Just spoken to Rita Rogers. She was shocked that people who claim to be concerned about adults with special needs could resort to such measures. The mentally challenged kids were traumatised the day thugs were sent in. There are two title deeds. She has seen the documents, and the late Trustees stipulated that the land that Jacaranda workshop occupies should be used for a trainee vocation . The culprits are landgrabbers, and had tried to occupy another school in the area , and were stopped. The Mpig, and landgrabbers, who have taken Jacaranda workshop over now, have done so illegally. Jacaranda workshop has directors by guarantee, and is a company limited. The workshop intends to open tomorrow, and we expect trouble. However we have been told there will be assistance.


Caroline said...

That's really sad.Is there no limit to the greed??

Tamtam said...

Thanks for stopping by Caroline. It is awful, and sickening. The kids,adults who attend the workshop are forgotten in all this.

Dzame said...

I am so saddened by this. It is such a devastating incident,in this day and time,with our"new age" leaders. We MUST stop is totally inhumane,unacceptable,selfish,sickening...I thought I'd feel a bit better if I vent,but still feel sick to my stomach.

Tamtam said...

Thanks for stopping by Dzame. I share your sentiments. I was so outraged when I heard about it on Friday. The ease in which some people can get away with stuff, is unbelievable.

Kamotho Patrick said...

Pole is the word,i am really sad to read this article jacarada,and 2other schools are the only schools that I know exists in Nrb county,its high time we call the governer to intervene.Poleni

Tamtam said...

Thanks for stopping by Patrick. It is good to hear there are two other schools in Nairobi county. It is a sad state affairs, and I feel for the people who work at the workshop. I wish I had faith in the government to intervene. I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Ok...this is a very one sided story. Its sad that such a noble cause is under threat but then you missed out several points of law. Who owns the land? If the transaction is above board then im sorry but they have to leave. Instead of getting sentimental you should be looking for alternative locations for the workshop. Finally I really hope you have evidence to support your allegation that the local MP is part of this grabbing syndicate...white blowing is great but character assassination isn't . Please publish your stories backed up by facts so that we the public can join your cause.

Tamtam said...

I have evidence and would not post without it.If everything is above board, then why were thugs hired?

Anonymous said...

Mine is not to justify any illegality. But you are doing the cause no justice by witholding the evidence. You are doing the people of dagoretti north a bigger injustice by letting their MP engage in criminal acts within their constituency. In short, put up the evidence and the legal facts starting with the LR number of the land so that the public can identify the bona fide owner(s). I can assure you that this act will vanish in smoke and be swept under the rag if you dont highlight these points of fact. Where then will that leave Jacaranda workshop and its beneficiaries?

Tamtam said...

The government claim they own the land. Jacaranda say this is not true. The local MP has been asked to provide the title deed, we are still waiting.

Anonymous said...

All of a sudden Jacaranda Workshops forgotten. Hey wake up. Research has been done to discover the truth about the land that both School and Workshops situated. IT does not belong to Government. It's registered since 1949 as StNicolas then Kelielshwa special school in 1967 then in 1973 jacaranda Special School and has a board of 3 Trustees. This property is under clause Education only.
Title Deed in it's rightful place with Law Firm that goes back to the early 50's and still in existence and famous.
Rotary Club of Nairobi one of the Trustees SO dear MP who thinks he knows it all how come you not informed

Rita said...

Yes the Title Deed in it's rightful place with Law Firm yet MP can sit in an interview on Citizen TV and slander an innocent volunteer Rotarian who offered his Service above Self which is the motto.
34mentally challenged IDP now thanks to the MP and his thugs. Yet no one challenges this illegal shut down of the workshops.

Tamtam said...

Anon@19.26 Thanks for stopping by, and giving me and others clarity on what is going on.I am aware that the whole thing is a web of deceit, and the truth always comes out.

Rita, thank you for coming on here. You are on the ground, and have been attacked. I was of the understanding that MP Shakil Shabir had challenged the shut down of the workshop, as he is a Rotarian, and interested in people with special needs. What was the purpose of his meeting at the school then?

Tamtam said...


Have you not gone to court over this yet?

Rita said...

Going to court might also cause mayhem for the mentally and psychically challenged who would be there and not understand what is happening.
We are trying to meet with the BOG and MP Arati to sort amicably for the sake of all concerned.
There is a history of this institution going back to 1946 even before any of us were born.
It was a vision of dedicated men and women most of whom were Rotarians.
What sort of behaviour is this I wonder which of the 2are challenged they new BOG of the school or the children as they cannot hurt a fly.yet there are those evil out there ready to destroy them.

Rita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rita said...

Let us give you a motto of Rotarians so you can understand how we offer support and guidance in projects we undertake.
4 way Test implemented since 1932.
1. It it the Turth it Fair to all concerned
3. Will it build goodwill and friendship
4.will it be beneficial to all concerned.

With this motto which even sits in the office of Jacaranda Workshops is how we give out our message to all concerned.

Anonymous said...

We are trying to get this matter sorted amicably without dragging these innocent people into campaigns and more violence. We have tried to get in touch with the Chairman Mr Gitonga who has given appointments yet never kept them to discuss this issue read the history understand the trustee involvement which does not allow such behaviour on the property concerned.
As for MP Shakeel meeting MP Simba Arati, he did this on the property to explain to him the history having been one of the previous volunteer Directors as a Rotarian which he still is, and to be honest there is no reason to have taken such action. But somehow it looks like MP Arati does not want to understand to set things right. He MP Arati would need to be the bigger man and apologise to all concerned in this saga AND admit he was not given the full true story about the School and Workshops interaction.

Anonymous said...

Arati at it again trying to grab land from residents of kawangware. Contact me for more information