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'I may be disabled but I am still able', Siaya technician declares

By Geoffrey Arich | July 27th 2016
Fredrick Odhiambo at work

KENYA: Living with any kind of disability is an uphill task but 38-year-old Fredrick Odhiambo has refused to allow his condition hold him back.

With an initial capital of Sh3,000 Odhiambo ventured into a shoe making and motorcycle repair business after buying tools to enable him do the same.

Crippled at childhood after a bout of polio, the man from Lur village, Ugenya constituency opted to do this business after seeing a friend, with a similar condition as his, doing well in the business.

“I did not need a lot of money to make my dream of being self reliant a reality. The greatest thing I used was my self confidence,” he says.

Odhiambo leaves home at 8am when he reports to work at Bondo Kolalo market and on a bad business day takes home Sh500.

He can be sure of making at least Sh15,000 each month and sometimes goes home with a larger amount.

“I hate begging and that is what motivates me. I am thankful to God because the gift of life is the greatest thing I have,” he says.

The business has, however, not been without its challenges as Odhiambo says he is often dismissed by first time customers.

This however, changes once they work with him and many become repeat clients.

For Odhiambo, disability is not not in any way equivalent to inability and he views himself as the finest motorcycle mechanic around his county.

He hopes to inspire those living with various disabilities to change their attitude towards work.

“It cannot be about sitting in the streets, wallowing in self pity. We must work hard in order to meet our family’s daily needs,” he said.

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