Rydone’s Rhythms

Friday, 16 Jun, 2023

Three young boys standing next to trees

Meaningful work gives young people with deafblindness an income, confidence, and the means to lead an independent, dignified life.

In Kenya, we are ensuring that courses are tailored to the needs of students with deafblindness by helping Vocational Education and Training Centres to become more inclusive. This involves training facilitators on how to best to communicate with students who have deafblindness.

We spoke to Scholastica about the impact Sense International’s programme has had on her and her son Rydone’s life:

“Sense International’s projects, psychological support, and friendship make me feel at home. You have walked the journey with me as I raised my son, Rydone.

It wasn’t until Rydone was two months old that I realised he wasn’t noticing my facial expressions, nor responding to lights being switched on or off. Rydone was diagnosed as blind at a local hospital. I was told to raise him like any other child and given no additional support.

At four years old, Rydone started to attend a school for the blind where we noticed he had a talent for music. The school supported Rydone to perform in music festivals.

However, when Rydone turned ten he became withdrawn from class. The teachers told me he wasn’t showing interest in his lessons and would often get distracted. I encouraged Rydone to keep working hard at school, but he just didn’t feel motivated anymore and couldn’t explain why.

A young person working at a computer with a woman standing nearby

One of the facilitators at the Kenyan Society for the Blind noticed that Rydone was slow to respond to his name. She advised I get his hearing tested.

I took her advice, and the results were that he had been losing his hearing gradually for the last year. It hit me that this probably started when his academic performance began declining. I became depressed, I felt isolated, and withdrawn after this diagnosis, but I never gave up supporting my children.

“I sought out as much information and help as possible to support Rydone. I was put in touch with Empowerment of the Disabled, a local organisation for people with disabilities, who partners with Sense International to provide vocational training.

Sense International worked with Rydone to improve his skills in music and using the computer. We received tablets loaded with videos on how to set up a business and were connected virtually with other families.

Rydone was also provided with an entertainment set, including a laptop, music mixer and public address system. Since Rydone received this you can clearly see that my boy is very happy. He gets invited to play his music in churches and other functions including the 1st ever Deafblind International Africa conference held in Nairobi, Kenya.

A young person standing at a microphone

The money Rydone has earnt from his music has paid for new batteries for his hearing aid. He also supports the household financially whilst his siblings are still in school. We are hoping to save up for a musical keyboard. This will enable him to teach other young people how to play the instruments.

The future looks bright for my son.”

Make an impact on the lives of young people with deafblindness: Donate here.

If you would like to get involved as an individual, business, trust or foundation you can find out more about our work in Kenya here.