Kenya

Kenya has a population of 48 million with an estimated 17,000 people with deafblindness.

A girl standing beside a fenceIn this section:
Overview
Education
Early intervention and rehabilitation
Awareness raising, advocacy and campaigning
Vocational training and livelihoods
Related links
Contact us 

Overview

Families are often overwhelmed by the practical and emotional challenges of caring for a child with deafblindness – and may be ostracised by their local community.

Without support from Sense International, children with deafblindness will often lead harsh, short lives.

Sense International (Kenya) started supporting children and young adults with deafblindness in 2005. There are five schools with primary education units for children with deafbliness in the country and five vocational centres which we have supported with training, by providing materials and by helping set up two specialist deafblind units.

Watch our subtitled video that briefly outlines the work we do in East Africa, you can also view the video on YouTube.

Education

A young boy drawing with a red penWe work with government and education institutions to improve people with deafblindness/MSI access to appropriate education. We have:

  • Helped train 400 Special Needs Teachers and professionals, and have provided learning materials for the schools we work in, so that students with deafblindness / MSI students can receive a high quality education.
  • Supported ten specialist deafblind education centres, five for primary education and five which educate young adults in vocational skills.
  • We are transforming these ten deafblind education centres into Deafblind Resource Centres so that they will also provide specialist assessments for all people with deafblindness as well as community-based education services.
  • Specialist deafblind education units in Nairobi and Kitui have been expanded with our support.
  • Developed pre-school, primary school and pre-vocational curricula for learners with deafblindness in partnership with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
  • Since 2011 we have provided home-based services for 204 children and have trained 38 community workers and 92 other professionals so that these children can receive physiotherapy, help with communication and life skills training.

"Meeting with my fellow parents, being trained to communicate with my girl and knowing that I am not the only one with a child with deafblindness. This is a source of hope to me, turning around the hopelessness I had three years ago." - A parent

View photos of our work in Kenya below, also available to view on our Flickr page.

Early intervention and rehabilitation

We work in partnership with community-based organisations to provide children with deafblindnesss / MSI, with community-based support and therapy services.

  • We have identified, screened and assessed over 3,000 children since 2012 and some of them are now receiving home-based care and early intervention services.
  • We are working with the government and 4 hospitals to screen babies for sensory impairments and provide early intervention services for those identified to have deafblindness / MSI.

A group of children smiling

Awareness raising, advocacy and campaigning

We feature frequently on national television and in radio programmes, as well as in the national press helping to raise public awareness and understanding of deafblindness/MSI and the work that we are doing.

  • Raising awareness of deafblindness and tackling stigma, so that deafblind/MSI people are accepted in their communities.
  • Advocating for rights and appropriate services for people with deafblindness/MSI.

We work closely with the Government and Ministries of Health and Education to develop appropriate services. Through our advocacy work we have lobbied successfully for the inclusion of the needs of children with deafblindness/MSI in the Special Needs Education Policy.

  • Partnering with Disabled People’s Organisations in order to campaign for the Government to include Rubella among the diseases that are routinely immunized against (since it is a cause of deafblindness).
  • We supported parents to set up a National Association, which by 2012, had grown to a total membership of 251. 
  • The Kenya Parents of Deafblind People Organization is now a fully-fledged local NGO which has spear headed the campaign for recognition of the right to education of children with deafblindness.
  • We have been lobbying the government of Kenya to provide appropriate education and health services for children with deafblindness/MSI.

Vocational training and livelihoods

Through different projects we:

  • Assisted graduates of vocational training centres to establish small businesses, using the skills they have learnt, enabling them to contribute to community life and earn a living.

A young girl feels the face of a woman with her fingers

(Image above) Student with deafblindness at a school supported by SI Kenya gets to know a visitor by touching their face.

People's stories from Kenya: Abby | Stephen | Daniel
Campaigns
Funded project: National rubella immunisation programme in Kenya
Funded project: Community-based education in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
Funded project: Project Wezesha, The Wezesha Story
Blog: Journey to Nairobi
News from Kenya

Contact Sense International (Kenya)

Sense International (Kenya)
Nelleon Place
Rhapta Road
Nairobi
Kenya

(Postal address: PO Box 53597, 00200 Nairobi, Kenya)

Tel: +254 (0) 20 3755 128
Email: info@senseint-ea.org

First published: Thursday 27 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 12 January 2018