Gerald Cook and Kara Wevers are students who travelled throughout Africa and visited a number of GlobalGiving projects. On March 18th they visited "Support 100 disabled youth with Assistive devices." When asked what they would tell their friends about this project, Gerald said "Incredible: You need to see this!" while Kara said "Great: They are making a difference."
Kara Wevers and I arrived at KEDAN’s office around 1:30pm. Fredrick Ouko and his colleges were kind enough to interrupt their lunches to meet with us. Upon entering the office, I could not help but notice that the worker there themselves were disabled and walked with the help of metallic crutches.
We started by asking a variety of questions about his organization and their services. The organization was quite amazing. They candidly discussed a variety of topics. Their organization does a lot of great work including obtaining supplies and equipment for disabled individuals living in the slums, as well as leading workshops, sporting games, and other events to educated and help people to socially interact. In the middle of our interview, one of the men had to excuse himself in order to lead a human rights workshop.
We then took a small tour of the area and met with many beneficiaries. One room was filled with computers and it seemed some form of computer literacy was taking place. They were kind enough to allow us access to the room where the human rights workshop. We watched as a man stood at the front of a small, very crowded room and lectured about individual rights. Two different people stood signing, presumably into two different languages, to “translate.” He asked me to briefly introduce myself and I must admit feeling a bit strange as these two people “translated” all of my words into sign language. That was definitely a first!
There were a lot of beneficiaries present and most were excited to be introduced and to talk to us. It was obvious that the organization was holding a few events that day and that the people there felt extremely comfortable with all of KEDAN’s staff and with us. We shared few stories and someone taught me “the Kenyan way” to shake hands with a friend (slap hands hard into a handshake, switch grips to an “arm-wrestling-position,” then switch grips again back into a handshake position).
Overall an amazing experience. I would personally vouch for this organization and encourage anyone to donate knowing 100% that they are legitimate and doing good work.
Don’t you love it when a group of people recognizes injustice and decides to do something about it? That’s exactly what they’re all about at KEDAN (Kenya Disabled Action Network). Fredrick Ouko and his committed staff realized that the needs of disabled people living in the Nairobi slums were not being met. So they have been working to advocate for the rights of this disabled community. Their passion comes from their personal experiences as many of them live with their own physical disabilities.
When I had the chance to visit with them last month, I was able to see their staff in action. I saw them teaching computer classes and leading trainings on basic human rights. I got to speak with a few people who had received assistive devices like crutches and canes as a result of KEDAN. They were very grateful and gushed about the generosity of KEDAN and the positive changes that resulted in their lives after receiving their new devices. It seems that not only does KEDAN help disabled adults, they also work to give them hope for a better life. What a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of this Kibera community!
I take this opportunity on behalf of over 20 young disabled people who have been lucky to benefit from your generosity that enabled us donate mobility aids to them thus restoring hope in their lives.
In particular,i would wish to inform you of the great assistance you have accorded to Violet Ndindi,this young lady was indeed faced with myriad problems given her multiple disabilities.
Her case was to brought to our attention by officials of a community organization who knew our sphere of work as they have seen Violet`s mother struggling everyday to carry her on her back.
We requested a meeting with her where she explained all that she has gone through taking care of her daughter,it is these acts that enabled us to connect with her motherly love and saw the need of assisting her with a wheelchair so that it would be easy for her to move around with her daughter on a wheelchair.
After donating the wheelchair to Violet,her mother found her an institution where she has started attending to meet with her colleagues and not remain in isolation and we believe that this is the hope that a mobility aid can bring into lives of many who cannot access such.
We thank you all for your acts of generosity and for assisting young disabled people just as Violet.
We look forward for your continued support in restoring hope in the lives of many.
A NOTE FROM GLOBALGIVING:
This is the second in a series of snapshots about project leader Fredrick Ouko and his organization Kenya Disabled Action Network (KEDAN).
Thank you for your continued support of Fredrick and his tireless dedication to rehabilitating 100 disabled youth from underprivileged families through the provision of mobility aids and assistive devices. We ask you to contribute again today! Feel free to tell your friends about Fredrick and his incredible work!
Give a Man a Wheelchair and He Will Eat for a Lifetime
Fredrick Ouko Alucheli is the Executive Director of Kenya Disabled Action Network (KEDAN). Only 26-years-old, Fredrick has already championed various initiatives in Kenya and abroad that bring awareness to and improve the lives of youth with disabilities.
He cites his family as his primary source of motivation; U.S. President Barack Obama, a close second. “Initially, my father influenced me the most as he is the one who sacrificed a lot to educate me despite being a disabled child in the family,” says Fredrick. “Lately, the U.S. president Barack Obama inspires me a great deal from how he rose from a community mobilizer to become the 44th President of United States of America. Considering all the challenges he has faced in life and he is a true testimony to the disabled community that indeed ‘YES WE CAN’ one day!”
With funds raised through GlobalGiving, Fredrick and his team at KEDAN have been able to purchase aluminum elbow crutches, wheelchairs, and white canes for the blind. They plan to continue buying other assistive devices as the demand for them is particularly high among their beneficiaries. “A lot of people … continuously come to our offices looking for such assistance,” says Fredrick.
Fredrick’s accomplishments are impressive, and he hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams as well. He talks about one particular young person who had a similar drive to excel, but didn’t own a wheelchair to help him move around. “With a donation, we were able to afford him a wheelchair that came in handy,” says Fredrick. “He could now do everything for himself as opposed to relying on people’s assistance every time he wanted to move from one point to another.”
Fredrick believes that providing assistive tools is the gateway to achieving independent living. He draws a comparison to the famous Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” Speaking of the ambitious young man who received the wheelchair donation, Fredrick says, “We actually gave him a fishing line and he is happy to get fish for himself!”
Please welcome Fredrick Ouko Alucheli. He is a new project leader here at GlobalGiving and over the past few weeks we have had the opportunity to get to know Fredrick and the great work he does for his organization Kenya Disabled Action Network.
Periodically over the next two months we will be sending you snapshots about Fredrick’s life and work. We encourage your feedback about this new form of progress update so that we can provide you with the most interesting and relevant information possible about the projects and causes you support.
We thank you for your contributions and ask you to consider donating again to Fredrick and the Kenya Disabled Action Network. Feel free to tell your friends about Fredrick and his incredible work!
Fredrick Ouko Alucheli: A Champion for Disabled Youth in Kenya
Fredrick Ouko Alucheli is the Executive Director of Kenya Disabled Action Network (KEDAN). The 26-year-old is a young paraplegic with a background in Business Administration from the Kenya School of Professional Studies. Ever since his high school days at the Mombasa Secondary School for the Physically Handicapped, Fredrick has held various leadership roles, starting with Head-Student and Chairman of both the Law and Interact clubs.
Before joining KEDAN, Fredrick was a founding director of the Kibera Community Youth Programme (KCYP), a unique organization formed and run by young people in the Kibera slum in Nairobi. During his five year tenure, Fredrick spearheaded efforts that brought the organization international acclaim for its success as a youth-lead initiative. The KCYP’s innovative and simple solar assembling project was aired on CNN`s Global Challenges Program and went on to win an international award in Basel, Switzerland, dubbed Clean Energy Awards in 2007.
At KEDAN, Fredrick has also used his networking skills to bring the organization into both the national and international spotlights. He has worked hard to expand its reach and initiate unique programs targeting young disabled people in Kenya, such as the Job Placement and Livelihood Project that seeks to find solutions to employment problems facing persons with disabilities. The project works with employers to provide internship and employment opportunities to young disabled people, and over 60 youth have undergone training with over 10 of them securing an internship or employment in different sectors of the economy. In addition, KEDAN carries out capacity building and advocacy activities to ensure that young disabled people both know and demand their rights. The organization seeks to improve the socio-economic status of young disabled people, many of whom are living in severe poverty.
Due to Fredrick’s deep knowledge of and experience in youth and disability issues, he was nominated by the UN Youth Section to serve for three years as an advisor on the Global Advisory Panel for the Disability Rights Fund. He also sits on the board of a handful of organizations, is married, and the proud father of one daughter.
On behalf Kenya Disabled Action Network(KEDAN) and the beneficiaries of our projects;we would like to thank you so much for your generous support through donation to our project online during the GlobalGiving Challenge.
Your financial contribution really mattered as we had raised a total of US$ 1,974 by 21st November 2008 with the support of 24 of you!! And in so doing;we have been invited to stay online upto 28th February 2009 to raise more money with a target of 50 donors by the next deadline to win a permanent spot on the GlobalGiving website.
We are confident that with your committment,we are going to meet the next deadline and thus encourage you to consider giving to the project again and also telling your friends,business partners,colleagues to consider donating to the project.
We will give an update how your support has gone a long way to assist persons with disabilities regain their independence through mobility through your support.
Thank you so much for believing and supporting this project,together we can do more!
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