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!