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Kenya's Youngest 'Outcasts' Emerge From Shadows


Kenyan Alice Njeri knew by the fourth month that something was terribly wrong with her infant son, Mike. When the baby boy was in the hospital recovering from a case of pneumonia, the doctors told Njeri that he was paralyzed on his left side and mentally disabled.
It appeared that Mike would grow up severely disabled in a country that shunned children with disabilities as curses from God.
Njeri left the house every day to pick up menial labor working in gardens for $1 a day — the going wage for unskilled labor in Kenya — in order to help support the other four in their family.
With her other children at school, that meant leaving Mike alone every day on the floor of her apartment. She returned every afternoon to find him filthy and distraught.
Njeri chose not to take Mike out in public.
“When you get a handicapped child [in East Africa], people think you are cursed or a big sinner,” she says. “We don’t take our children outside. People talk about the child, they spit on him as a show of disapproval. They don’t want to see him.”
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