Special Olympics Champion Susan Gatwiri Forced to Work as Maid

  • Kenyans athletes at a podium (L) and a household (R). Facebook
  • When Susan Gatwiri clinched two gold medals for Kenya in the 2015 Special Olympics Games, USA, it seemed like life would take a turn for the better for her family.

    However, four years later the double champion has been forced to work as a maid to make ends meet.

    The outing which saw team Kenya produce its best-ever performance with 40 medals propelled Gatwiri and her teammates to national heroes status.

    She won gold in both the 3000m and 5000m races in impressive times despite her disability.

    Susan Gatwiri won gold in both the 3000m and 5000m races at the Special Olympics 2015.

    Gatwiri impeccable performance during the games saw her awarded the prestigious Sports Woman with Disability of the Year Award, where she received Kshs75,000.

    But that is as far as the rewards came regarding her fete at the games.

    Living in abject poverty with her parents, she works as a house help in Skuta estate, Nyeri town where she earns Kshs6,000 per month.

    She scored 105 marks in her KCPE but has been unable to proceed with her secondary education due to financial constraints. She called on the government to pay her dues.

    Responding to the plea, Special Olympics Kenya stated that they had forwarded her bank details to the Ministry of Sports.

    “Susan (Gatwiri) is among other Special Olympics Kenya athletes whose details were submitted for cash awards in the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage. The awarding of athletes is mandate of the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage and not Special Olympics Kenya,” read a statement from the Special Olympics Kenya.

    Special Gold Medalist Susan Gatwiri with her parents in Mwichuiri Village, in Kieni, Nyeri on 15/2/2019.

    According to the Ministry’s cash award scheme, gold medallist receive Kshs200,000 per medal, hence Susan’s cash award from the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage is Kshs400,000.

    “The Ministry of Sports does not engage the sports organizations during the disbursement process hence Special Olympics Kenya cannot confirm whether an athlete has been paid or not unless the athlete volunteers the information," the organization stated.