A Kenyan student has received international recognition for his outstanding efforts towards creating change for people living with disabilities in Kenya.
James Karanja, a Kenyan student at Flinders University in South Australia trounced his peers from across the world and bagged the accolade as the 2021 winner of the international student of the year.
The awards are an opportunity for the international community, academic institutions, local community, and businesses to honour the achievements of international students during their time in the university.
The student won the award after demonstrating outstanding efforts towards engaging people living with disabilities through creating change back home.
He completed a degree in Disability Policy and Practice last semester and is currently pursuing a Master of Disability Policy and Practice at the same institution.
Although it has been 15 years since he last studied, he laid plans on how to achieve academic excellence. To fulfill his dreams, he carefully selected courses that aligned with his goals to address the needs of the disabled back in Kenya.
In his acceptance speech, he stated “Being recognised for the award gives me the drive to take a leading role in promoting social inclusion and active participation of people with disability in the labour markets.”
He added “The award constantly reminds me of the disability slogan "Nothing for us without us. None of the disability programs that I initiate in Kenya will fail to include the feelings, aspirations and the voice of people with disabilities.”
James created a peer support group of students from different academic disciplines and diverse cultures to enrich his social experiences and educational experiences. Through this support network, he began a WhatsApp mentoring group for other disability policy students from Africa.
He also participated in other student engagement initiatives which included being the founding treasurer of Flinders Friendship International, a club that has contributed towards assisting students from diverse backgrounds make friends at the institution.
Judges were impressed by his determination to make an impact on people living with disabilities back home.
James who is also the winner of the 2021 Academic Excellence Postgraduate (Coursework) strongly believes that people with disabilities can also be part of the social and economic developments of their communities
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