Empowering People with Disabilities in the Rift Valley

Jul 28, 2022

“I’m doing much better since I moved my shop from home to the downtown market”, says Collins, one of 23 people living in the Kenyan Rift Valley County of Eldoret who participate in the Anglican Diocese of Eldoret’s Disability Inclusion Project. Although Collins is still looking to add some shelter, to his market stall, the improvement in his business will enable him to make this improvement as well.

Collins and his fellow project participants receive support from the Diocese of Eldoret’s Disability Inclusion Project which provides no-interest loans to participants with disabilities (or who have a child with a disability). These loans, together with mentoring provided by business people within the diocese, support people living with disabilities to become economically independent and to live productive, dignified lives.

Another participant, Ken, had set up a tree nursery in the local school compound, near to his home. However, as sheep had started destroying his seedlings, he decided to move the nursery to his home. This has turned out to be a much better arrangement, as he’s able to get assistance from his family. His business is doing well, and he can now pay for his two children to go to high school and college respectively.

Jacob, another participant, says, “Since joining the project and getting assistance with my business (a small shop) I have bought a cow that can provide milk for the whole family. I’m building onto my house, and I’m so happy that I can manage my shop and provide for the needs of my family.”

Geoffrey, father of a daughter with cerebral palsy also commented, “My daughter was admitted to Form 1 at a school which is many kilometres from home. But she is able to travel on her own by bus from our home to the school, and has become very independent. She now takes baths by herself and washes her own clothes. This is something we had been doing for her since she was born. So we thank God for the assistance of the project to send her to school.”

Farida, mother of another child with a disability adds, “My daughter has started going to school and is doing well. Her self-esteem has improved, and I’ve noticed a lot of improvement in her capabilities and in normal daily activities”.

To date, the project has achieved the following results:

  • Each participant has had a 7o% increase in their stock
  • 20 of the 23 have reported an increase in their income since they received their small business loan
  • 18 have invested their profits
  • 5 have reconstructed their houses to better accommodate themselves and their families
  • All are telling stories of how the stigma of disability is gradually reducing – both in their own and other people’s attitudes
  • 10 are decision-makers in their communities
  • 8 are in leadership positions

The project also changes perceptions of people with disabilities among the church and local community through training and awareness-raising. To date, 10 parish churches within the Diocese of Eldoret have a person with a disability as part of their church leadership teams and 20 parishes have made structural changes to their buildings to ensure they are accessible using a wheelchair.

One church group that has recently received training in the rights of persons with disabilities is the Mothers Union at Kesses parish. The photo shows new members of the Kesses Mothers’ Union receiving this training.

Anglicans in Development and the Dioceses of Perth and Eldoret would like to thank all who support this project, or who have supported it in the past. Your support gives hope to many, and has made many in the church and community much more aware of the rights of people with disabilities to a full and abundant life.