Home NEWS County News PWDs in Nakuru receive business startup grants, equipment

PWDs in Nakuru receive business startup grants, equipment

A total of fifty-six persons living with Disabilities in Nakuru County have received business startup grants and equipment worth Ksh.749,000 from the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya (NFDK) Board of Trustees.

Prof. Julia Ojiambo, a member of the NFDK, says additional grants to the tune of Ksh.2.4 million have been issued to 12 institutions for people living with disabilities in the area to improve their facilities and sustainable income-generating activities.

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These institutions are special schools, units, vocational centers, and rehabilitation centers.

These institutions have been receiving Sh200, 000 every financial year to advance infrastructural development amenities like toilets and walking pavements to make the daily life of this group of persons a bit easy.

Speaking at the Rift Valley Regional Headquarters during the issuance of cheques, assistive devices, and equipment in aid of PWDs, Prof. Ojiambo called on Kenyans of goodwill to support NFDK to reach out to PWDs across the country, saying the Fund is overwhelmed by the high numbers of needy PWDs.

Prof. Ojiambo highlighted NFDK’s pledge to donate devices and tools to pupils in special needs schools once they acquire vocational skills.

Beneficiaries also received sewing machines, salon kits, welding machines, masonry kits, and water pumps to uplift their living standards.

Prof. Ojiambo said NFDK wants to enhance the socio-economic empowerment of special needs children for a ‘just and equal’ society.

“We have embarked on a process of supporting People Living with Disability, which is our core mandate. We have been moving around the country where we have donated different equipment and machines to empower them financially,” said Prof. Ojiambo.

She explained that the core mandate of NFDK is to aid by funding and empowering persons with disabilities to realize their potential through socio-economic integration by supporting them with mobility enablers and business gear.

“As a Fund, we empower persons with disabilities to realize their potential through socio-economic integration by providing mobility appliances like wheelchairs, crutches, white canes, and hearing aids. But today as you can witness, we are donating sewing machines, welding equipment, and barber kits among many others,” added Prof.Ojiambo.

Prof.Ojiambo expressed regret that persons with disabilities (PWDs) have historically missed out on opportunities to be part of the workforce due to erroneous perceptions, fear, myths, and prejudice that continue to limit understanding and acceptance of disability.

“Myths abound, including that PWDs are inefficient at work and that accommodating a PWD in the workplace is expensive. It is such notions that employers must overcome to tap into the value that the differently abled people can add to every value chain,” observed Prof. Ojiambo.

She stressed the importance of empowering PWDs adding that like other people, it is their human right to have a dignified and productive life.

To qualify, both individuals and heads of institutions are required to fill NFDK Forms B and A respectively obtained from their website, applicants are also advised to obtain relevant endorsements from Government administration and for the case of individual PWD, one should be formally apprenticed.

After following the instructions, individuals applying are advised to pick any equipment of their choice not limited to livestock, cash grants, and mobility aids like wheelchairs and many others. The forms are then dropped at the Deputy County Commissioners’ offices countrywide for further action.

National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya is an endowment fund that was established under the Trustees Act Cap 164 of the Laws of Kenya. The mandate of the Fund was to enhance the social and economic empowerment of persons with disability in Kenya.

On his part, Nakuru East Deputy County Commissioner Simiyu Were advised parents and caregivers of children with disabilities to help their children seek assistance from the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD) as well as NFDK instead of relegating them to undue misery.

He urged teachers in special needs schools to emphasize on practical skills training to enable learners who are differently abled to be self-reliant once they complete their education.

In the 2019 census, 2.2 percent of Kenyans, or 900,000 people — 1.9 percent of men and 2.5 percent of women — live with some form of disability. Besides, there are more PWDs living in rural than urban areas with residence prevalence rates of 2.6 percent (0.7 million) and 1.4 percent (0.2 million), respectively.

Additionally, the 2019 Labour Market Assessment commissioned by Sight Savers revealed that unemployment and poverty are some of the major challenges PWDs in Kenya face. It was estimated that PWDs constitute less than two percent of the workforce.

In the same line, the UN Statistics show that 80-90 percent of PWDs of working age — in developing countries and 50-70 percent in industrialized countries — are unemployed.

Dennis Rasto
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