Yesterday was my one month anniversary with Cheshire Disability Services Kenya (CDSK). Where does the time go? I can’t believe I’m already 1/6 of the way through this life changing experience. Something tells me that come the end of my 6 months, it’s going to be hard to say good bye to this wonderful country and an amazing team of dedicated, intelligent, resourceful and simply wonderful people. But until then let me tell you a little bit about why I’m here in the first place.
Did you know that in Kenya approximately 3.5% of the population has a disability (visual, hearing, speech and language difficulties, physical, intellectual, self care difficulties, etc.)? This equates to 1.3 Million people (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2013). And this is only what has been captured through national census data which does not accurately represent the entire population. When you consider those less likely to be captured by census data being those living in rural, more impoverished communities where disability is more likely to be prevalent, you can only wonder what the true number is. Now consider the fact that Kenya has the 28th largest population in the world yet it’s GDP doesn’t even fall within the top 50 countries worldwide. And although significant changes have been made in Kenya with respect to persons with disabilities (PWD), the current government is not equipped to take responsibility for the management, care and financial support of PWD in the ways those working in the disability space here so desperately wish they could.
This is why CDSK exists. Without the work of NGOs like CDSK in Kenya, PWD would not receive the support they need and deserve as outline by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. CDSK focuses its efforts in four major areas: rehabilitation and care, inclusive education, livelihood and economic empowerment, and lobbying and advocacy. While here, I will support capacity building (providing both informal and formal training with, in some cases, the support of local GSK staff), developing and executing a fundraising strategy (including the development of supporting marketing materials) and a stakeholder engagement plan to help support existing lobbying and advocacy efforts. Please stay tuned for more to come on all these fronts!
Until next time friends, I wish you all well and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or want to get involved.