The popular perception among most Kenyans is that People Living With Disabilities (PLWD) are always craving sympathy and pity.
Harrison Kariuki, who is abled differently, has defied this perception and, against all odds, chosen to vie for the seat of Member of County Assembly (MCA) in Kirinyaga County in the coming 2022 General Election.
Kariuki was born deaf in 1990 at Karumandi village in Gichungu constituency, Kirinyanga County.
Kariuki is confident that he will bag the MCA seat for Karumaindi Ward and is not afraid of battling it out with rivals who have hearing abilities and can communicate verbally with the electorate.Kirinyaga Governor, Anne Waiguru, and MCAs in Kirinyaga on February 11, 2021
The 31-year-old indicated that his desire to go for the seat is to ensure that livelihoods, including that of PLWD, get improved.
"I want to ensure that the people of Karumandi and Kirinyaga county at large, including those living with disabilities, have access to better health care services, inclusive vocational training centres," part of Kariuki's manifesto reads.
Kariuki, who currently works as a Gender and Development Officer in Nandi County, says the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic like the use of masks has really affected the deaf community considering they communicate through lip-reading.
His ability to live and work competitively is attributed to one of his aunts, who advised his parents to enrol him at a special school in his informative years.
In 2018, Kariuki received an In-County Award in London, United Kingdom (UK) for his efforts in empowering the deaf community.
To overcome the communication barrier, the father of one, who is married to a deaf lady, communicates through written messages to the community in his ward.
"My campaigns and political marketing for my candidature for the post of Karumandi ward MCA has been okay except for lack of funds and lack of a sign language interpreters. This has been a major challenge as I embark on this political journey," he said, exuding confidence in winning the seat.Kenyan engineer and innovator, Roy Allela, created a set of gloves that will allow better communication between those who are deaf and those who can hearFile
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