Kelvin is one of the pioneer students at Moja Tu. Kelvin is an orphan with a hearing impairment rescued from the slums of Kibera, where he was living with a relative. He was brought to Tania Integrated Rehabilitation Center where Moja Tu met him.
“I had just completed class eight and was waiting to join high school though I did not see any possibility of that until Moja Tu came into the picture. I was born hearing, but I lost my hearing ability due to sickness along the way. I attended primary school with abled students, and I thus suffered a lot, but it is here that I got to learn lip-reading. When Moja Tu agreed to sponsor my studies, they took me to Machakos School for the deaf,” Kelvin recounts his journey with Moja Tu.
Kelvin was taught sign language at the Machakos school, and he quickly became adept at it. He explains that his high school years were smooth because Moja Tu ensured he was equipped with all he needed to succeed.
“Moja Tu always ensured that my school fees were paid on the first day of school. I was also provided with shopping and school supplies that lasted me a whole term. What’s more, being in a special needs school meant that my needs were cared for and being around people like me really encouraged and raised my self-esteem,” he adds.
Kelvin completed his 4 years of high school with good grades, which secured him a spot at the Karen Technical Training Institute for the Deaf where he pursued a diploma in catering. He graduated three years later as a chef.
“Being in a school for the deaf also really helped in my studies, and I can’t thank the organization enough for being so mindful. It was a good school, and the organization once more ensured that I was well equipped to thrive,” he says.
During his school years, Kelvin played soccer as a hobby and with each passing year his skills at the game improved so much so that he started participating in tournaments. He caught the eyes of the national soccer association, who were scouting for players for the deaf national football team. Kelvin is training to be part of the Kenyan national team that will participate in the 2022 Deaflympics Games being held in Brazil in May next year.
“When I was selected for trials, I lacked the soccer gear that was needed, and I didn’t have money to purchase the equipment. When Moja Tu learned of my plight, they bought for me the gear to enable me to compete effectively,” he says with gratitude.
Even with a diploma in catering, Moja Tu knew it might be challenging for Kelvin to get employment with his hearing impairment. Always eager to support the students, the organization facilitated Kelvin’s employment as a chef in one of the partner children’s homes.
“I am super excited for this new phase of my life, and I can’t wait to get started. Besides cooking, I am determined to teach children sign language at a nearby primary school. I have already spoken to the school management, and they welcomed the idea. I also plan to coach students interested in soccer,” he says as his eyes light up. His excitement is palpable, his smile infectious.