Feb 24 2011

Kenyan: ‘I wanted to prove society wrong by being self-reliant’

By Regina Mburu from the CFCA Communications Center in Nairobi

Javan, 19, had a difficult time growing up in a community where people with disabilities are often shunned and seen as a burden to their families.

Javan, who is deaf, was born first in a family of seven in Kenya. He was born and raised in Bondo, a county in the lakeside city of Kisumu.

Javan in Kenya

Javan uses a construction level tool during his classes.

Thanks to the CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship program, Javan has transformed from a timid boy to a cheerful young man.

After Javan’s father died, his mother took care of him and his siblings. The proceeds she earned from selling food and through her secondhand clothes business helped provide her family with a meal and the opportunity to go to school.

ìMy mother did everything she could, but sometimes it was difficult for her to keep us in school due to lack of money to pay our school fees,î Javan said in sign language.

ìI often prayed and hoped that something good will come my way. I wanted to prove society wrong by being self-reliant,î he said.

His prayers were answered when another deaf friend introduced him to CFCA. Javan was then enrolled in the Hope for a Family program.

Through sponsorship, Javan attends the St. Joseph Technical Institute for the Deaf, where he studies building and construction. It will take him four years to complete the program.

Javan at school

Javan now attends the St. Joseph Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Javan chose the building and construction course because it is practical, and because he has a deaf friend who also did the course and is now doing well.

ìI am very happy that I am a step closer towards my goal,î he said.

It has not been smooth sailing, however. Javan sometimes has a hard time in class, especially when the teacher is not familiar with sign language.

It becomes hard for him to keep up with the rest of the students. His classmates assist him with notes, which he can study later.

Just like everyone else his age, Javan has dreams that he hopes will come true.

“I want to get a good job that will allow me to help my mother take care of my siblings. I would also love to have a family of my own someday,î he signed as he broke into a wide smile.

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