Disability Not Inability

For the last three weeks we have been working with various youth groups in Nakuru. One of the groups that I am working with is Nakuru Youth with Disability. We have two sessions each week in a very small office in the Provincial Commissioner’s Office. When we walked into our first class, I remember asking myself “how is this going to work out?”, but once we started I quickly forgot the size of the room. This was because I was overwhelmed by the energy of the group members!

They really are a hugely impressive and inspiring bunch with a real desire to learn and improve. They have responded brilliantly to the Balloon Kenya curriculum, grasping the key concepts almost effortlessly. I think this is because the group is passionate about creating change and doing something meaningful for people in Kenya.

During our sessions we have been discussing the daily challenges that they face, and these discussions revealed how tough life can be for disabled people in Kenya; they do not get sufficient help from the government and are often looked down upon in the communities they live in. This has led to concentrations of disabled Kenyans being trapped in the poverty cycle without the means to break out. As a Kenyan, this saddens me.

This group have all too often been cut off from opportunities to build their communal capacity through productive endeavours, so when they got the chance to work with Balloon Kenya they accepted it with open arms. As Stephen, the group’s leader put it, “After getting this training we will empower ourselves and others who face similar challenges. Soon we will get rid of the stigma around persons with disabilities!” I feel honoured to be supporting them in working to achieve this end.

Suraj Gudka