ADRA Finland has had activities in Western Kenya ever since the 1990s. Healthcare, education, the development of industries and improvement in the status of disabled persons has been at the heart of this effort.
ADRA Finland’s local project partners in Kenya have for long included Kendu Adventist Hospital in Kendu Bay, the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, in Eldoret, and in recent years, Community Initiative for Development.
CBR Work with the Disabled
CBR work, or community-based rehabilitation, is a comprehensive approach combining health, education and upbringing, livelihood and social relations and empowerment. CBR involves the development of rehabilitation as local services for people with disabilities and efforts for promoting the involvement these people in the communities where they live.
The situation of people with disabilities in Kenya remains very poor and discriminating against them. The human rights of disabled persons and the involvement of these people are the overall objectives of ADRA Finland’s efforts, but we also strive to respond to the special needs of the disabled through surgery and rehabilitation as well as pharmacotherapy.
The objective is to strengthen civil society and institutions, such as the school system and healthcare, thereby enhancing the opportunities of partially or completely disabled persons to participate in society as full members of society.
Promoting the rights of disabled persons and opportunities for these people to participate is one of the priorities of Finland’s human rights policy, and it is also one of the cross-cutting themes of Finland’s development cooperation. Finland has a fine international reputation in work with the disabled.
Our accomplishments through our work with the disabled are shown below.
Making a broad survey of the situation of disabled persons in Western Kenya and its communities
Building a new surgical unit devoted especially to surgeries for the disabled at Kendu Adventist Hospital
Performing surgeries and treatment of approximately 1,000 young patients with disabilities through the volunteer work of top surgeons from Finland (“Surgical Safaris”)
Establishing a rehabilitation clinic at Kabondo Sub-District Hospital and maintaining it since 2013
Involving nearly 2,000 persons with disabilities in the rehabilitative part of the project thus far
Providing training in legally based disability awareness to a broad range of local healthcare processionals: physicians, public health nurses, registered nurses along with public administrators, religious leaders and village chiefs as well as the parents of disabled children
Carrying out training partly in Finland and partly in Kenya
Creating a referral system in the area, whereby children with disabilities can claim their rights, gain access to treatment and receive medication
Sponsoring basic and lower secondary education for some 20 children, and for a few of these, higher secondary education as well
Initiating the development of industries to further employment of the disabled, (the “Livelihood” project)
Initiating an investigation of the social status of disabled persons in their communities in connection with improving their situation
Creating added value to the project through the greatly valued efforts and countless hours of work by numerous Finnish health care professionals and students as well as other volunteers
Our aid to disabled persons received significant publicity in Finland with the broadcasting of a 30-minute TV program about Kenya’s Surgical Safaris and their leader, chief physician Tapio Hakala, on TV 1 in 2013. The program was viewed by 500,000 Finns.
Industrial Development and Employment Project
“Livelihood” is a project for the industrial development and employment of young people with disabilities who are unemployed in the Kendu Bay and Homa Bay areas of Western Kenya. Over a period of three years, the project is establishing 70 entrepreneurial groups. Each group has an average of 15 members.
The tool being utilized is training in modest business activities, provided to groups of young people with disabilities. For the participants, the training provides a working knowledge of engagement in business activities and self-employment.
The training includes, among other things, financial administration, marketing, business planning and organizational management. In addition to basic training, the groups receive any needed further training or specialization.
The aim is to get the groups and business activities on sustainable footing by providing support and monitoring their development as far as possible.
The project has directly created livelihood for about 1,000 people. Indirectly, it has generated additional income for many more.
Meanwhile, the trained entrepreneurial groups are functioning as role models for other young people. For many youth, the project has been a starting shot to move forward in life. It has demonstrated how training can motivate participants to try, giving their very best.
The project grants microloans to groups at the initial stage of activities on the principle of table banking. Examples of enterprises that have been established through the project include a moped taxi enterprise, a water transportation business by donkey and cart, hen houses, a beauty parlor, a car wash, a knife sharpener’s enterprise, various kinds of farming, etc.
Project for the Life Skills of Children and Youth
This ongoing project at 16 schools in the Kendu Bay and Homa Bay areas targets development of the life skills of basic and lower secondary level students in five life areas shown below.
Crop cultivation and harvesting
Fine academic performance
Over the course of the project, previously barren school yards have been transformed into thriving gardening patches. The students have been taught how to set up the patches and cultivate them. These little gardens have yielded harvests so abundantly, that schools which previously suffered from shortage of food now have fruit and vegetables not only for their own needs, but with plenty to sell as well.
With sales proceeds from this production, students at some of the schools have also been able to pay the tuition fees of other students, for whom payment would not have been possible otherwise. In this way, the project has enhanced social responsibility and caring for one another among the children attending the schools.
In cooperation with Kenya Post Office Savings Bank, more than 400 schoolchildren have had their own bank accounts opened to support lessons in thriftiness and for gathering tuition fees.
The ideas and example of this project have also spread through the children to their homes and surrounding villages, already generating empowerment and entrepreneurship in dozens of villages.
Project for the Education of Disadvantaged and Disabled Children
It this project, ADRA Finland is supporting the right to education of disadvantaged and disabled children. For many Kenyan children, attending school continues to be only a dream, since their parents do not have the means to pay tuition fees.
The school path has been opened for some 20 children through this sponsorship project. These children attend schools of basic education or of lower or higher secondary education.
The project gives better opportunities of life and livelihood to children and youth who otherwise would have no such opportunity due to disability or some other issue. In this respect, the project is changing attitudes towards disabled persons in Kenyan communities.