Deaf people decry bias in employment and procurement

Deaf Empowerment Society of Kenya CEO Jacob Ireri said out of the 800,000 deaf people in the country, only about 20,000 are employed. [Courtesy]
People living with hearing impairment have complained of being side-lined in employment as well as procurement processes by both the Government and the private sector.

The Deaf Empowerment Society of Kenya decried that out of the 800,000 deaf people in the country, only about 20,000 are employed.

Its CEO Jacob Ireri said the number may be higher since the society especially in the rural areas and marginalized communities do not expose people with disabilities.

Speaking to the press in Embu town on Thursday, Ireri said the neglect to such people has been extended to county government where they cannot secure jobs or tenders.

“Most of us have given up in seeking for county tenders since we can’t be awarded. They regard us as incapable yet we have a right through the 30 percent procurement rule as persons with disabilities,” he said.

He called on the state and other partners to provide empowerment and capacity building programmes to such people so as to harness their potential and improve their livelihoods.

The society has this year taken about 150 deaf people on a one-month training programme on entrepreneurship to capacity-build them to set up businesses.

It is also working at procuring business equipment to give those trained to facilitate them in the entry of the business environment.

“We have placed tenders to buy equipment for those interested in starting saloon, poultry farming, tailoring, carpentry, electrical, beauty shop, farming and welding among others to help them start businesses and improve on their livelihoods,” said Ireri.

Embu County has about 3,000 deaf people, 30 of whom are employed.

The CEO called on county governments to integrate the deaf into their programmes  

He also called on parents not to hide children with various deformities saying exposing them would give them an opportunity to get help.

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Deaf Empowerment Society of Kenyaembu countybiasemployment