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The transformed lives of deafblind children and young adults in Kenya

10 June 2014
Posted by Charles Odel

Charles Odel

On Friday 6 June 2014, representatives from each of the countries we work in presented to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Sense International supporters and funders on their work over the past year.

The event, held at Fladgates law firm in London, provided an opportunity for our Regional Directors to outline the work they have carried out in the field of education and to talk about some of the exciting work coming up in the next 12 months. 

> View a gallery of the event on flickr

Charles Odel, who represented Kenya at the event gave this speech:

When I joined Sense International in March 2012 from teaching in the classroom, there was no national curriculum for the deafblind. Each of the nine public schools offering education to deafblind learners in the Kenya were on their own so to speak.

Charles Odel with representatives of Sense International funder, Minerva TrustLast year, Sense International supported the Government to develop curricular for teaching deafblind children in Kenya from pre-school level to vocational level. This provides a platform for quality assurance and ensures that deafblind children across board are provided with a patterned quality education. 

The story of Sense International’s work in Kenya when told will not be complete without the mention of transformed lives of deafblind children and young adults who faced despair and bleak meaningless lives but who through the intervention of SI now boast of meaningful lives full of hope and purpose.

Ricardo Zevallos – Director, Sense International (Peru) with HRH The Princess RoyalThe champion of this success story is Louis Ouko who is now 19 years old. Born deafblind as a result of rubella syndrome, the parents of Louis didn’t know what to do with her and many friends shunned the family for giving birth to a deafblind child. After intervention Louis is now a confident young girl able to communicate well in tactile sign language and presently practising  beadwork and beauty therapy in preparation for vocational skills training.

Cedric, a deafblind learner at Kilimani, on the other hand was identified by Sense International from the expansive Kawangware slums. Surrounded by poverty from all corners his mother had relegated his care to her sister who also already had mouths of her own to feed.

HRH The Princess RoyalEducation for Cedric was not anywhere near the top of her priorities. Sense International supported Cedric to join the Kilimani integrated program where Cedric has shown tremendous progress. Cedric is no longer a burden but part of a family. These are just two of the many lives that have been touched by Sense International.

The work that Sense International must continue doing is well cut out for it. What with the likes of Nyachioyi, a fourth year law student who lost both hearing and vision due to a brain tumour two to three years ago and has been hopeless at home until he met me three weeks ago, and after sharing with him through block writing on his palm had this to say…

“I know my condition is irreversible. You did not pretend to want to cure it, but meeting you, I have had a new hope, a new belief I can make it no matter what!”

If Sense International cannot take this challenge to give hope to deafblind persons no one else will, thank you.

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First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Thursday 18 September 2014