By Shadrack Nyakoe
The US Embassy in Kenya, in partnership with inABLE, have commenced a one-week entrepreneurship and soft skills boot camp for 40 blind and visually impaired youth —aged between 18 to 29 years— at Thika Primary School for the Blind in Kiambu County. The overall objective is to better integrate blind youth into the Kenyan society by creating self-sustaining skills for income generation.
“The United States is pleased to collaborate with inABLE to equip young Kenyans with the technological and professional skills to follow their dreams. InABLE’s support and advocacy for digital accessibility for all Kenyans ensures everyone has a chance to participate fully in every civic, educational, and economic opportunity available,” says Christopher Machin, Cultural Attache, U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya.
Bernard Chiira, Director, Innovate Now Assistive Tech Accelerator, and the curator of the curriculum adds, “The program is designed to incorporate business activities, such as product development and commercializing artistic abilities, principles of marketing, advertising, social media tools, financing, budgeting, price setting, and digital management assets”.
This initiative is part of an 8-month Creating Tomorrow’s Business Leaders project aimed at equipping blind and visually impaired youth with computer and soft skills to develop entrepreneurial skills and the specific mitigation competencies that blind people use to participate in the workforce.
Julius Mbura, Advocacy Officer at inABLE adds, “For the blindness specific mitigation unit, participants will learn: 1) adaptive technology to operate management software and digital platforms, 2) non-visual techniques to manage and control inventory and workspace, techniques for independent travel, strategies for a blind person to include themselves in the society, and 3) non-visual techniques to monitor the environment”.
This program will include blind and visually impaired youth from 4 counties (Siaya, Thika, Meru & Mombasa). At the completion of this project, these youth will be equipped with assistive technology competence, computing skills, basic life disciplines, and employment preparedness to give them confidence to leverage available and accessible digital resources that can set themselves apart when seeking employment or becoming self-employed.