Stephen Kintu is a 24-year-old young man with deafblindness. He was brought up by his single mother Esther in a slum outside Kisumu.
Stephen is a recent graduate of Sikri Vocational Centre in Kenya. Whilst he was a student there he learned a number of vocational skills relevant to his community including: poultry keeping, agriculture, and weaving.
Together with the centre, Stephen decided to perfect his weaving skills, since he had excelled in this area and because his family home is near to the vibrant Kibuye market in Kisumu.
Thanks to the vocational training Stephen has received he is now proficient at weaving and produces a number of different woven products from shawls and scarves to tablecloths and mats. As part of the vocational project Stephen has been given a loom machine and financial support to set up his own business.
Stephen's teachers were trained on how to prepare Stephen for living within his community and to carry on using the daily living skills he had learnt at the centre. They also travelled to Stephen's home to train his mother on how to help Stephen manage the transition from student to professional weaver.
Stephen has excelled in a series of exhibitions and participated actively during the awareness raising days in his community celebrating Helen Keller Day and World Sight Day. He mesmerized the residents of Kondele in Kisumu with his high-speed and meticulous weaving skills on his loom machine.
Building upon this experience the staff of Sikri Vocational Training Centre identified a potential apprentice trainer to mentor him, and now Stephen is working with him in the community.
His apprentice trainer has been trained to supervise his budgeting, production and sales. Based on the feasibility study conducted by his teachers and on the sales Stephen made of his weaving products whilst at Sikri, Stephen will now be able to contribute an income to his family.
For Stephen's mother, Esther, this is a remarkable step. She only ever worried for Stephen's future from the day she discovered he was deafblind but she can now think of him as a means of support, and no longer has to worry about being solely responsible for providing for the family. Stephen himself is relieved that he has something productive to do that contributes to his family now that he has graduated from school.
First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 20 September 2017