At least 55 persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Taita Taveta County early this week received an assortment of tools of trade to empower and support their income-generating activities.
“I’m a tailor without a sewing machine but that has changed today and I can go back home and make a living,” said elated Getrude Mghoi Haron, one of the beneficiaries from Mghambonyi in Taita sub-county.
Another beneficiary, Lucy Mkavanga Mwakio is a hairdresser who has been employed at a Salon in Wundanyi town but has always aspired to own her hairdressing business.
“I’m an experienced hairdresser and I work for someone else because I cannot afford the salon appliances. Today is a great day as I leave here with all the appliances I need for my hairdressing business. My life will change for good,” said Lucy Mkavanga.
The assorted technical tools were part of a national relief program by the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya (NFDK) to qualified applicants from around the country for the previous fiscal year.
“These tools are part of keeping our annual promise to deserving applicants for last year from every corner of Kenya,” said Sharon Wairimu, NFDK Assistant Manager for Advocacy, Publicity, and Fundraising.
The assorted tools included sewing and knitting machines, barber and salon appliances, and welding and carpentry tool kits.
Sharon said the choice of tools is by design as most of the PWDs possess or can easily acquire skills to use them locally and engage in activities to support them economically.
“As you can see, the tools we’re giving out are easy to use and the beneficiaries already have or can acquire skills to use them to generate revenue,” said Wairimu.
PWDs are often left behind on the socio-economic fronts as the rest of the abled society segments move forward to scramble for the few available opportunities, with the former left to rely on the handouts and goodwill of their family, relatives, and well-wishers.
NFDK has been stepping into the gap to provide equipment and appliances to PWDs in Kenya with the reasoning that they can put their technical skills to use and earn a living without being overly dependent on the generosity of the rest of the society.
“Ours is a well-calculated program that seeks to stem the over-dependence of PWDs on relatives and society to survive. Instead, we give them tools they can use to start and sustain micro and small-scale businesses. The beneficiaries apply for tools that they already have predisposed skills for and we believe they can use them to change and support their lives,” added Wairimu.
While NFDK relies on donor funds sourced locally and internationally, the national government has always set an annual kitty to the fund in its support for the PWDs to have a decent life and support socioeconomic equity among all Kenyans.
According to Sharon, for the fiscal year 2022/2023, the national government allocated Sh. 200 million to NFDK as part of its support for the cause of PWDs’ welfare.
Speaking during the handing over of the tools to PWDs in the Taita sub-county, the Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Maina Ngunyi lauded the contribution of the national government toward supporting and empowering PWDs.
“You can see the hand of the national government in ensuring that no one, especially the PWDs, is left behind in the socio-economic train of this country. We’re thankful for the support of the national government, NFDK, and other stakeholders for availing this kind of help to deserving citizens,” said DCC Ngunyi.
The administrator assured that state agencies would ensure that the welfare of PWDs was addressed adding that anyone with an interest to support the less fortunate members of society were free to make their contribution.
By Arnold Linga Masila