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NFDK launches Coast Region Empowerment Programme

The National Fund for the Disabled in Kenya (NFDK) is sparking hope and opportunity in the Coast Region with their newly unveiled Empowerment Programme, which is set to ignite business start-ups and provide crucial educational grants to institutions supporting learners with disabilities.

NFDK has a mandate to enhance the social and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities, achieved by supporting individuals with disabilities with assistive technology, as enablers of inclusion and economic empowerment.

The toolsets they offer serve to bolster the social and economic independence of disabled individuals. These livelihood opportunities play a crucial role in dismantling both physical and attitudinal barriers associated with the capabilities of persons with disabilities.

Speaking at the Coast Regional Commissioner’s Office, Mombasa, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (NFDK), Kristina Kenyatta Pratt, said that the Fund strives to challenge the misconception that individuals with disabilities are either incapable of working or cannot be integrated into the workforce.

Pratt highlighted the distribution of grants to eight educational institutions throughout the region, amounting to a total of Sh 1,600,000. Additionally, trade tools valued at Sh 724,040 were provided to disabled individuals from Nyali and Mvita sub-counties.

“The flagship of the NFDK has brought significant benefits to the Coast Region, with 18 institutions catering to learners with disabilities receiving projects valued at Sh 44,873,300. These projects encompass essential facilities such as dormitories, dining halls, ICT labs, and classrooms, enhancing the educational landscape and fostering inclusivity within the region.” Pratt said.

During their visits to different counties, Pratt noted a concerning trend of parents concealing their disabled children, seemingly hesitant to expose them to public view.

However, she underscored the significance of the advocacy programme designed to encourage parents to openly acknowledge and present these children, so that they can receive the necessary assistance and support.

“I want to appeal to all beneficiaries, as you receive the assistance you applied for, whether a grant, tool of trade, or assistive device, please use it for the intended purpose because we shall follow-up and monitor your progress in business or start-up, and for the institutions, you will be held accountable for the utilisation of the grants received today,” she said.

The Coast Deputy Regional Commissioner, Mbogho Majioe, said the Government conducted thorough vetting to ensure that no imposters posing as disabled individuals benefit.

“We have implemented a robust monitoring tool to track and assess how those who have received assistance are utilising them to improve their livelihood,” Mbogho said.

He encouraged parents to expose their disabled children to the support that the government is providing because many of the kids are disabled but very intelligent and talented.

Hellen Mwithana, one of the beneficiaries who received a salon business toolkit, expressed her gratitude to NFDK.

“This salon kit will greatly assist me in managing my livelihood, especially since I have been unemployed for quite some time,” Mwithana said.

Although her knowledge of salon operations may be limited, she pledged to pursue further training to enhance her skills.

“My goal is to eventually open a salon and employ others, so we can mutually support each other in seeking sustenance,” she concluded.

By Fatma Said

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