Buses full of eager students rolled into the Jamhuri showground in Nairobi, Kenya, 25 February.
Every year, Rotary clubs in Nairobi, Thika, and Machakos collaborate to put together a special rally for children with physical and mental disabilities. This year, a record 3,500 children took part in the event, hosted by the Rotary Club of Nairobi East and Nairobi Parklands.
It is a joy to see the excitement on the faces of the children, who, according to their teachers, hardly sleep the night before. The rally is a big event on their calendars.
As the buses made their way into the showground, they were met by Rotaractors from the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta, and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, who took a very active role in picking up the children from their schools, assisting them around the arena, and helping with meals.
Dancers, clowns, comedians and DJs entertained the students. After lunch, rally cars and dirt bikes put on a spectacular display. Henry Wanyoike, a blind athlete from Kenya who competes in the Paralympics Games and marathon racing, encouraged the children to overcome whatever challenges life puts in their way. He told the students a disability is not an inability.
Some of the schools took to the stage to perform their own songs and poems for the other students. The child performers had put a lot of effort into rehearsing and practicing, and the pride was plain to see on their faces.
It was a great day for all the children. A teacher at one of the schools summed it up best when she said “ A big thank you for throwing an outing like this. You touched my kids. May the Almighty shower many blessings on all the Rotary clubs who took part.”