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Deaf entrepreneurs set up bakery business in Nairobi

Published Date: 24 Feb 2020
Photo: Deaf young people in Kenya

In Kenya, the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs offers yearly training for young people on information and communication technology (ICT) and entrepreneurship. This training was previously closed to those living with a disability including deafness, but last year this changed, when our partner in Kenya, Deaf Empowerment Kenya (DEK) encouraged the ministry to open up its training programme for the first time and four deaf youths took part alongside 136 other hearing candidates.

DEK supported the four deaf students by helping them to prepare for the course and providing two interpreters to attend all the training sessions. All the students underwent four weeks of vigorous training, learning about writing business plans and developing business models, using new modes of technology and learning about government financial resources that are available such as the UWEZO fund (a fund aimed at people with disabilities to access finances to promote businesses and enterprise) and the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

Photo: Deaf young people working at the bakery.

The four deaf youths have set up a small but thriving bakery and juice bar in the bustling area of Kayole, Nairobi and are currently undergoing more training through a mentorship programme to develop their business further. DEK has helped the entrepreneurs register their business and is supporting them further with ongoing advice and encouragement.

Diana Bihembo, one of the bakery owners said

“We wanted to open a business that would allow us to work and be part of the community. Kayole is a busy area and our bakery is in a prime location for those travelling to work. We have developed a good customer base already and use notepads and pens to communicate with customers.”

DEK is working to encourage more deaf youths to come forward to register for the training in other sub-counties. There are currently two deaf students attending the ICT and entrepreneurial training in Kasarani sub-county and seven deaf students are on the training at Makadara sub-country.