Sign Language classes
The team of Kids of Maseno – Kenya still conducts sign language classes in two places: in Siaya (in collaboration with the NGO Deaf Initiative Network Kenya) and in Kisumu. Due to poverty among the students, enrolment is low (we currently have three students attending the course in Kisumu and ten in Siaya). Thus, we were forced to lower the charge from 3000 KES (about 30 Euros) to 1000 KES (about 10 Euros) per month. In Kisumu, the class takes place at St. Stephan Ack Church where the students attend the course for the duration of three months. During these three months, students take the Basic Sign Language Class three times every week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The team is also planning to set up a sign language class in Lela, starting in October. Thus, the community awareness on sign language and Deafness will be enhanced in Lela, the site of the children’s home for Deaf and Deaf-blind children. It will especially facilitate the communication between parents and their Deaf children. We also want to contribute to the interaction of the Deaf people with the hearing people in this community. The new constitution of Kenya states Kenyan sign language as an official language. Therefore, it should also be learnt by hearing people, and we hope to contribute to this learning process and to improve the awareness of Deafness among the hearing people.
We would like to thank the staff members of Kids of Maseno in Mainz, Germany, and all our other supporters for the ongoing practical, emotional and financial assistance of our various activities.
Kids of Maseno – Kenya has opened a small carpentry workshop for one of our orphan boys, Victor Otieno. Victor completed his vocational education last year. The workshop helps Victor to earn a little money on his own which enables him to buy provisions and clothes for himself. Some of the money is also used to buy some minor personal requirements (e.g. soap, pens) for the other orphans in the school.
The workshop has started to attract other Deaf men and women who have finished their vocational training in carpentry but lack the means to further their careers. In future, we hope to enlarge the workshop, so that it might help even more Deaf men and women.
Some words from Victor who would also like to encourage other Deaf and Deaf-blind men and women:
“My name is Victor Otieno. l am a Deaf young man and l am an orphan. l went to Maseno School for the Deaf for my primary education. After primary school, l hoped to join secondary school but had no one to help me with the school fees. In 2010 Kids of Maseno e.V. started to support my education. I decided to join Maseno vocational where l learnt carpentry and passed the examination. Right now I have very good skills in making furniture. In January, I joined the workshop of the Maseno self-help group. My donor from Kids of Maseno e.V. provided me with some finances that l used to buy timber and other things for the workshop. l am now happy to work and also able to help my sister. l want to encourage other orphans, Deaf and Deaf-blind not to give up.”
Compiled by Austine Otieno