|Education and Self-Advocacy: Nyeri|
Self-Advocacy Training Ignites Change for David
“Hello my name is David and I have a disability. I look after a cow and goat, which makes me feel very happy.” Says a smiling man age 33, from Nyeri district, who has Down syndrome. His mum, Njoki, smiles at him fondly and says:
“David was not always this happy: he used to be more reserved in his socialization and his ability to speak out in front of people. He had trouble articulating ideas and stating what he needed.”
David grew up in the beautiful countryside of Kenya. In the early 80’s David was one of the first students to join a special unit established in the community for children with disabilities. His supportive mum stood out against the social stigma and allowed him to not only go out in the community but took him to school; a courageous act which counteracted the social norm of hiding children with disabilities in the home.
David happily attended school for 3 years. Then in 1985 a new headmaster came to the school who was unsupportive of disabilities and the special unit was closed, leaving the children with disabilities without a place to be educated. “I was very sad when the school closed because I had no activities to keep me busy, and no one outside of my family to socialize with,” recounts David. For the majority of his life, David has spent his time in the house with minimal mental stimulation and no schooling.
However, in 2006 KAIH came to the district of Nyeri. David heard that it was an organization that helped disabled people and he immediately wanted to join with his mother. Since becoming a member David has had the opportunity to participate in many educational and recreational opportunities, for example he represented the PWID’s in an athletic competition, traveled to Nairobi to attend workshops about his human rights, and has learned about HIV/AIDS and reproductive health.
Self-Advocacy Training Ignites Change
Through the encouragement of KAIH members, David found his voice. He asked his mom if he could look after a goat and a cow, an activity that he has always wanted to do.
Today David has his own goat and cow that he cares for so that he can generate an income. He has even learned to take the milk to the dairy. “I am so proud of David: he is very responsible. The next task for David is to give him a small piece of land where he can grow cabbage” says Njoki. To David these responsibilities provide him with purpose: “I am happy because I have learned to complete so many tasks,” David beams.