Kenya has a population of 52.57 million people. It is estimated that there are over 1 million people with mild forms of deafblindness/multi-sensory impairment (MSI), and over 100,000 people with severe forms of deafblindness/MSI in the country. Sense International Kenya started supporting deafblind/MSI children and young adults in 2005.

Education and rehabilitation

We work with government and education institutions to improve access to appropriate education for people with deafblindness / Multi-sensory Impairment (MSI).

  • A young boy drawing with a red penWe have helped train over 400 teachers and professionals, and have provided learning materials for the schools we work in, so that students with deafblindness/MSI receive a high-quality education
  • Deafblind units in Nairobi and Kitui have been constructed with our support.
  • Transforming ten deafblind education centres into Deafblind Resource Centres that provide specialist assessments for all people with deafblindness, as well as providing community-based education services, while continuing to provide a quality education for pupils at the centres.
  • Developed pre-school, primary school and pre-vocational curricula for learners with deafblindness in partnership with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
  • Between 2011 and 2013, through the community-based rehabilitation programme, we provided home-based services for 204 children, and have trained 38 community workers and 92 other professionals, so that these children can receive physiotherapy, and support with communication and life skills training.

Vocational training

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.

To find out more about this topic please read our research paper “Social, Political and Economic Inclusion and Exclusion of Youths with Disabilities: A Case of Nairobi County”.

A girl standing beside a fence

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.

  • A group of children smiling

    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.

Early intervention

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.

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


Discover how our work has helped some deafblind children and adults around the world lead better and fuller lives.

Mwana's story

At 12 years old, Mwana is an orphan who is deafblind. Since joining the Community Based Education (CBE) programme provided by SI and supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the Programme Officer for SI Kenya who often visits and follows Mwana’s progress, reported a remarkable improvement in Mwana’s development.

Christina and Simon's story

Christina was one of the first mothers to be offered sensory screening for her child, Simon, at the Waithaka Health Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. Without the screening programme it is unlikely Christina, who is unemployed and dependent on her mother for financial support, would be able to correctly diagnose Simon. And without diagnosis it is unlikely Simon would receive the support he requires.

The facility is now screening all babies as part of a pioneering programme in Kenya and Uganda, that will screen infants for both sight and hearing impairments.


First published: Thursday 27 June 2013
Last updated: Tuesday 3 March 2020