Few Discrimination experiences at its best In Kenyan context

Every Day:

1) Store employees assuming we’re stupid:Go to the grocery
store, the movie theater, a store in the mall, a restaurant or any
public-type place that has
employees, and five times out of ten you’ll run into an employee who
will automatically assume you’re ill-equipped mentally because of an
obvious visual
disability.

2) buses and matatus passing us by:If you live in a big outscuts like
Umoja, Rwai, Gidhurai, eastlands chances are you’ve experienced buses and matatus
passing you by quite often. People with disabilities
constantly complain that buses pass them by when they’re out on the
road trying to hail a cab.
3) Stairs in public spaces.You go to grab a coffee or meet a friend
for lunch, visit some office but wait – you can’t get in. This is architecture
discrimination at its
finest and we encounter it every day. Despite the misguided notion
that certain buildings are grandfathered-in to the persons with
disability act and do not need to be accessible,
umm no, they do. Any public space must. crossing most roads for us is a night mare.

4) Doctors not really listening.Out of all the people we encounter
each day who may possibly discriminate against us, you’d think medical
personnel would
not be on the list, however doctors and nurses can be some of the most
discriminatory people when it comes to how they treat people with
disabilities.
some one asked my tribe mate when she was pregnant “which animal did
this to you” you can imagine how it sounds when spoken in swahili! 5)
Wheelchair “quotas.”“Sorry, no more wheelchairs allowed.” Concert
venues, airplanes, city buses, amusement park rides – quotas on how
many wheelchairs
are allowed in certain places are a reality of disabled life. They’re
instated for safety, but they’re also highly limiting, generally only
allowing a
half dozen people with disabilities or so into an event or two people
who use wheelchairs on a city bus.

6) Strangers pretending they don’t see us.Once in awhile you’ll run
into someone who’s not very pleasant. Maybe they’re budding in line in
front of you,
or avoiding your gaze when you’re looking for someone to help you grab
something from the shelf. These folks like to pretend they don’t see
us, thinking
it’s easier to do that than just interact with us.

7) People taking our parking spots.It happens all the time –
able-bodied individuals parking in disability parking spaces. The
convenience is just too
hard to deny. And while this is all fine and dandy when it’s in the
middle of the night and there’s no one else at the store, they
generally take our spots
in the daytime, especially the good ones that have extra room for our
ramps. some government offices have turned the unisex accessible
toilets to be stores.

Don’t Believe the Media’s Lies: Disability and Beauty Are Not Mutually Exclusive By medicarepublic.com Additions by Mugambi Paul

This isn’t a feel good story. It’s not an essay on the virtues of strength and bravery, neither is it an attempt to inspire you with tales of overcoming
adversity. It’s not a lesson on looking past disability and discovering some inner beauty bullshit. This is a call to action. This is about acceptance
and inclusion, about seeing and celebrating. Like all diversity, disability can be beautiful.

Diversity is a hot topic. It means recognizing our differences, seeing what distinguishes us from the majority and then throwing a party hat on it and
embracing it. In recent decades, Western society has made great strides in challenging stereotypes and acknowledging diversity in skin color, size, age,
race, sexual orientation and gender. We’re still far from equality on any of these issues but the conversations exist and progress continues. We see these
identities depicted in media and when we don’t, or when we see false, corrupted versions of them, we are justifiably outraged because we understand that
representation matters.

What we observe in television, film and advertising is critical to our understanding of all aspects of society. Media has a direct and profound impact
on how we think about ourselves and others. The inclusion of disability into our socially acceptable model of diversity is an area where we still have
a lot of work to do. Across multiple media, disability is underrepresented, misrepresented, or just plain ignored. In fact, where disability is concerned,
mass media is telling us a big, ugly lie.
#In Kenya we are not yet in existence in the great media and entertainment scenes. Most artists with disability are used us charity objects. Our music royalties are not paid on time and we lack actual marketing and promotion.
I wasn’t born with a disability. But as an adult, I find myself needing to create a new identity that includes it. My search for positive examples to inspire
this acceptance of a new way of being has as much to do with how I feel about myself as it pertains to how others perceive me. In the absence of representation,
the message can only be that disability cannot be beautiful and I refuse to accept that. Fashion and beauty are where we look to see the heightened, idealized
versions of ourselves that help shape our style which is so critical to identity. Yes, fashion is fantasy but in a world where none of us are perfect,
we should all be able to find something recognizable, something that reminds us we belong.

I’m looking for the people who look like me, who look better than me. I need more than just Iris Apfel or vintage Madonna to show me how to style a cane.
I need to see the cool girl with the walker so that I can think, wow. She looks hot. I can look hot too. I’m just as vain and superficial as everyone else.
This frivolous, materialistic, self-obsession is part of my North American birthright and I want in.
In Kenya at most we don’t have artist to look upto just the short stature of Likobe and Mwala we can talk about other disabled artists are either not in existence or never granted the opportunity.
So, just where are these pretty people? In movies and TV, disability is almost always used as a plot point and not as something a real person happens to
live with. In the world of entertainment, disabilities are turned into stereotypes of victims and burdens, heroes or freaks; lazy tropes that are used
to make us feel specific emotions. These careless characterizations are not just hurtful, they’re dangerous. They inform how we see disabled people in
real life and lead us to believe they are low status individuals who cannot be happy, lead productive lives or be self-sufficient. This sucks. It’s also
wrong.

The Victim stereotype is meant to elicit pity with stories about the plight of the disabled that reinforce the idea of how awful their lives must be. Dickens
did it with Tiny Tim in such an overt characterization that even the boy’s name evokes pity. Victims can also be packaged as burdens whose lives aren’t
worth very much. Or at least not as much as that of the burdened person. By contrast Heroes elevate the status of disabled persons, putting them on pedestals
for simply living their lives. Their accomplishments tell us that if disabled persons just try hard enough, they can triumph, overcome their obstacles
and live ‘normal’ lives.
In advert we are not involved even in courses which we can advocate for ourselves the ableism mentality is spearheaded by even those we think are with us in this agenda. Cmpanies in Kenya have now followed soot on this non empowering agenda.
Daytime talk shows and reality TV have become modern day freak shows. Disability is the spectacle and as it turns out, we haven’t evolved since the days
of PT Barnum’s biological oddities. Meanwhile, physical deformities are used to portray super villains driven to crime or revenge through their unfortunate
fates. From Captain Hook to Darth Vader, movies have us socializing children to fear and associate negatively with disability. From a young age we can
be convinced that disability is a punishment for being evil, or that disabled people probably want to kill you.

All of this is, of course, crap. These are not my people. Like most disabled persons, I don’t see myself reflected in any of these stories. While I would
love to blame my chronic bitchiness on Multiple Sclerosis, people tell me I was bitchy well in advance of my diagnosis. And while it’s true that some children
are afraid of me, doctors tell me ‘super villain’ is not actually a symptom of MS.
These stereotypes are not how the majority of the disabled population experience disability or life in general. But these ideas are so pervasive and powerful
that they’ve become normalized. We believe these harmful lies without questioning them.

Part of the problem is that disabled people have little or no influence on how stories are told. It’s a population that is under-employed in every sector
and media is no exception. Stories are most often not written by disabled persons and the number of actors in leading roles with disabilities is not a
number that exists. Even when the story is about being disabled. Imagine if this were still true for other marginalized groups. Our false convictions are
so strong and so deep that most of us don’t even see a problem with this.

In addition to what we think disability is, we are left with what we think disability is not. The media wants us to believe that persons with disabilities
cannot be considered attractive, desirable or sexual.

In the fashion and beauty realm, there is no narrative. Disability is altogether ignored, as if it doesn’t exist; as if we don’t also have budgets for
things like lipstick and lingerie. We are lead to believe that disabled people are not also girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, parents and partners, workers,
travelers and friends. We don’t recognize disabled persons as contributing, participating members of society.

It’s thus become accepted that disability disqualifies you from being beautiful. When someone does describe a woman with a disability as attractive, it
can feel like a loaded statement. Maybe it’s being said with shock and surprise. Or perhaps it’s qualified with something like “You’re pretty, for a disabled
chick” or “What a waste of such a pretty girl to be in a wheelchair”. The people saying these things actually think they’re doling out compliments. When
I was in the process of being diagnosed, someone who thought she was being supportive said to me, “Don’t worry. Pretty people don’t get MS.”

WTF? Wherever did we get that idea?

Society would have us believe this demographic doesn’t matter anyway because it doesn’t affect that many people. But according to the 2009 US census, 9.9%
of working aged Americans had a disability. That means 1 in every 10 Americans aged 18-64 reported significant difficulty with hearing, vision, cognition,
ambulation, self-care or independent living. Yet we don’t tend to think of this population as visible minorities worthy of accurate and careful representation.

If we don’t truly see the diversity, we don’t see the injustice. In race or gender this translates to things like discrimination and income inequality.
In disability this can mean lack of accessibility, or issues of employability. Transgender bathroom rights are in the news every day recently but despite
the ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) having been around since 1990, PWD act of Kenya 2003 of NO. 14 there are many public spaces in both North America and more worse in Kenya that don’t have accessible bathrooms
at all. While we are arguing and passing laws about who gets to pee where, there is a whole segment of the population that has nowhere to pee. Why aren’t
we outraged about that?
In Kenya we get free county toilets which at most a time are not even accessible.
It’s time to get real about the stories we tell about disability. Why is it that we’re more comfortable seeing the undead eat brains than we are hearing
about an actual human with a colostomy bag? Disability is a normal part of the natural diversity of the world. It’s not going anywhere and we need to make
room for it. Increasingly positive media examples have lead to the rising status of several diverse groups over recent years. The acceptance of disability
should be no different. Media not only influences societal trends, it practically dictates them. The arts are by nature forward thinking and innovative
and have a real opportunity to change ideas in a massive and meaningful way. People with disabilities live full lives and are many things, including beautiful.
It’s time to tell these stories.

Quadriplegic explore article by Wacianya with Additions from Mugambi Paul #CDS

HARSH INSPIRATION

Of course everybody is not going to love you,
With or without your disability,
Not everybody is going to like you,
Appreciate you,
Understand you,
Accommodate you,
Encourage you,
others may hold your assistive device,
others will talk much about you,
It’s your journey, come on!
Others may accompany you,
stare at glance,
Or choose not to,
Does it mean you terminate your journey?
You see even if you choose to terminate it,
Others will continue with theirs,
The hands of time will not stop,
Neither will they slow down,
It’s a jungle out there for everyone,
So don’t just sit in your pity potty,
Angry at life and fate,
Angry at everyone and everything,
Angry at your family, friends, strangers,
Goats, dogs, wind, rain, leadership, poor infrastructure sunshine….
Angry at you, come on!
It’s a race against time,
In pursuit of joy,
In pursuit of love and happiness,
In pursuit of fulfillment,
So rise up from your pity potty,
Go out there and live,
That’s the only life you have,
Love it,
Love yourself and love others,
None of us are getting out of here alive,
so please stop treating yourself like an after thought.
Eat the delicious food.
Walk in the sunshine.
Jump in
the ocean.
Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure.
Be silly.
Be kind.
Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.

Na uache ujinga,
Kumbaff!
#b the change
arise and shine
be out of the box.

Why Disability Representation In Kenyan Politics Matters More Than Ever

In the upcoming election 2017 in Kenya year,
how do we decide who to vote for? What issues are most important to us? I believe most of us seek a candidate
and a party that represents us. We want to see ourselves reflected not just in the candidates, but the ordinary people who support and represent them at
deligations, rallies, and commentaries. Yet for many people with disabilities, seeing someone on TV or at a political rally who looks like us, whose life
is like ours, is an unusual event. We have rarely been given a voice in national politics. Until now.

When I was a little boy, I had about a Blind man DR chomba who was trying to seek election post and was denied.
in history I have read a biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I learned he had polio and that he was the first and thus far only
President with a significant physical
Disability in the world.

I also learned he felt he had to hide the extent of his disability, using braces and carefully staged photo opportunities to conceal the fact that he
couldn’t walk. He refused to be photographed in a wheelchair, to the point where very few photos of him using one survive. Although I understand his decision
in the context of the times, it doesn’t exactly make me feel pride as a person with a disability. He was one of the strongest leaders in U.S. history,
yet feared being perceived as weak because of stereotypes about disability.
I also Remember very well at the university those days of ours we celebrated the passage of the persons with disability’s act 2003 not because it was enacted but because retired president Kibaki had to be on a wheelchair for the nation to realize that we exist.
It had taken 10 years to happen even if some top government officials had children with disabilities who they hide.
Some years later, not long after the Kenyan With Disabilities Act became law, I visited ministry of education Jogoo house and found lifts.C. I remember marveling that the bathrooms in
the jogoow house building were wheelchair accessible, since that was unusual at the time. I asked one of our staff about it, and she said it was
because of
a staff with a physical disability
I had never heard of her before, but I felt immediate solidarity and pride. If she
could be a ministry official with a disability, I could accomplish anything I chose.
This was the time when we actively fought for the affirmative action on entyry to the university for the young generation who are wnjoying the fruits of our labor.
Many years after that, I have watched Representative
Mwaura
giving a speech on TV, proudly advancing the Albinism agenda.
the NCPWD Chair David sankok Politically championing issues
he usually strides across the stage on. There words are powerful, and there personality are dynamic. They inspire the public in that moment. They make many believe someone in our government might actually understand our lives and care about us. They all seem like someone who might
one day be President and do so while embracing there disability without shame.
Since then, politics have taken a turn for the nasty. We have a major party’s candidates talking about ableism tendacies “who can not see the development, who can not hear the development, holding forums in inaccessible stadia, mocking of persons with disabilities”
Persons with disabilities were being carried up the stairs.
All this are not acceptable in this era.
Most of the uttered statement in mother tongue do not get in to the media and leave the disability community talking about it.
am yet to see Jubilee party, CORD collition and other smaller parties having a person with disability from the tribe address the deligate conferences qualitatively. but it seemed no one else cared.

It seems we are known on paper.
Mwaura, David, Mutemi speech have been hard within us its high time they became viral and which can lead to interviews, appearances, and most importantly conversations about disability. We need to keep having those
conversations. It’s easy for politicians to throw a big party for themselves and say all the things they believe, but how often do they actually accomplish
what they promise to do? I appreciate the fact that the all mainstream TV now a days have the sign language interprators. If KSL on TV is quality that’s a story for another day.

people with disabilities have more opportunities than they did in the past. we have more opportunities than we had. But we also still have a long way
to go since we should stop enjoying good will and go for the real deals by stopping the politicians from using us as bargaining tools.
Supporting people with disabilities is about more than including us in deligate conferences speeches. It’s about passing important laws like the
Persons with Disability bill 2016 which am not sure if it will see parliament this year, having adoption of the marakesh treaty, having a carers legislation, KSL regulation, Sighted guide regulations, Adaptive technology legislation
Having a inclusive social protection security for all persons with disabilities

It’s about fighting for jobs for people with disabilities;
our unemployment rate
is far worse than other groups we talk about more. It’s about reforming “work incentives” that are supposed to help people with disabilities to work and
still receive essential health benefits like Medicare and in-home care, but actually make being employed overly complicated.
It’s about adding more teeth to the
disability act 2003 WDA
and pursuing change in cities behind the times and still have many businesses with basic access barriers like a single step at an entrance.

It’s about creating more affordable housing and accessible apartments and homes, so people with disabilities can find a place to live and older adults
can remain in their homes as they age.

It’s about investing in technologies of the future, such as self-driving cars, robotic limbs, and fully-featured powered wheelchairs, and ensuring they
are affordable to people with disabilities.
It’s about reforming our justice system, where people with developmental and mental health disabilities are disproportionately harmed, and promoting education,
treatment, and rehabilitation for nonviolent offenders.
It’s about recognizing that the disability rights struggle intersects with the struggles of other groups. Many people with disabilities, includingme ,
also belong to minority racial or ethnic groups..
When
we have conversations and learn to understand each other, we’ll find out how much we have in common and realize we shouldn’t let people try to divide us.
As voters, we have to decide which party and candidate we feel will best accomplish these goals. For me, ,persons with disabilities should not be put in to one basket.————
If the current 12 parliamentarians and the 72 Members of county assemblys have delivered to us or not that’s a story for another day.
With that said, I acknowledge that many important disability rights laws, including the Kenyans With Disabilities Act2003, were bipartisan efforts. I will
always be willing to have a dialogue with any respectful person, regardless of party affiliation. We can only accomplish change for people with disabilities
if we work together.

Follow this voyage
@mpofunamba1
#chief disability soldier
www.mugambipaul.com
#N.b the views here do not represent any organization but are personal.

Ignorance is the enemy within: On the power of our privilege, and the privilege of our power~ Darren Walker

I was a sophomore in college when I first encountered the writing of James Baldwin. His courageous spirit, his clarion voice, and his moral imagination
expanded my consciousness of what it meant to be black in America. It helped me make sense of my own experience growing up in the rural South during the
1960s.

This past year, as I have traveled across the country and around the world, Baldwin’s clear-eyed understanding of our human frailties—as well as our potential
for transformation—has traveled with me. It has given me
#reasonsforhope.

Certainly, the events of this year have tested any commitment to hope, and to the belief that equality can triumph over indifference and injustice. We
are witnessing alarming levels of racism and bigotry in the West. We feel anguished and powerless over the plight of refugees from war-torn regions in
the Middle East and Africa. The world over, continued violence against women and girls, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ communities, and other vulnerable people
reminds us that inequality can exact deadly consequences.

In the United States, we find ourselves grieving far too often. We despair over the innocent African Americans killed by police and over the killings of
innocent officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. As we try to measure the incalculable costs of this violence—and the trauma it expands and extends—we are
called to work with greater urgency to connect the reality we see with the solutions we seek.

As we continue to confront, and be confronted by, entrenched inequality of all kinds—as we search for ways to understand and address it—I have returned
repeatedly to one of Baldwin’s insights in particular: “Ignorance, allied with power,” he wrote in 1972, “is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

These words resonate powerfully today. That is in large part because they compel us to confront our responsibility. They demand that we look closely at
our own ignorance and our own power. And as I discovered for myself, these two acts are not easy for any of us.

Confronting power, privilege, and ignorance
Author James Baldwin speaking about American racism to a predominantly black audience at UCSD in 1979.
Author James Baldwin speaking about American racism to a predominantly black audience at UCSD in 1979.

When Baldwin crafted his critique, power was held almost exclusively by wealthy white men and their institutions, including some of the very institutions
whose exercise of power we still scrutinize.

Since his writing, however, our definition of the power that allies with ignorance has expanded to include privilege: the unearned advantages or preferential
treatment from which we all benefit in different ways—whether due to our place of origin, our citizenship status, our parents, our education, our ability,
our gender identity, our place in a hierarchy.

The paradox of privilege is that it shields us from fully experiencing or acknowledging inequality, even while giving us more power to do something about
it. So, privilege allied with ignorance has become an equally pernicious, and perhaps more pervasive, enemy to justice. And just as each of us holds some
form of power or privilege we can challenge in ourselves, we each hold some form of ignorance, too.

Typically, in conversations about race, the word ignorance is associated with outright bigotry—and no doubt the two can be related. Yet in my experience,
ignorance remains such a ferocious enemy because of its silent, constant, unacknowledged presence.

I am a black, gay man, so some might assume that I’m especially sensitive to these issues and dynamics. But during the past year I have had to confront
my own ignorance and power, and come to terms with the ways I was inadvertently fueling injustice.

Last June, my colleagues and I
announced
that FordForward would focus on disrupting inequality. During the weeks that followed, I received more than 1,500 emails in response, mostly congratulatory.
And then something happened: I was confronted with feedback that highlighted my own obliviousness.

My friend Micki Edelsohn, founder of a remarkable organization called Homes for Life in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first to note that FordForward made
no mention of a huge community: the more than one billion people around the world who live with one form of disability or another, some 80 percent of them
in developing countries. “I applaud you for taking on inequality,” she said. “But when you talk about inequality, how can you not acknowledge people with
disabilities?”

Many others reiterated her unsettling message, from former governor Tom Ridge and Carol Glazer, chairman and president, respectively, of the National Organization
on Disability, to Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the president of RespectAbility. As a matter of fact, it was Jennifer—now among our most constructive, valued
partners—who, in a rather scorching email, called me a hypocrite. I deserved it.

Indeed, those who courageously—and correctly—raised this complicated set of issues pointed out that the Ford Foundation does not have a person with visible
disabilities on our leadership team; takes no affirmative effort to hire people with disabilities; does not consider them in our strategy; and does not
even provide those with physical disabilities with adequate access to our website, events, social media, or building. Our 50-year-old headquarters is currently
not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—landmark legislation that celebrated its 26th anniversary this summer. It should go without
saying: All of this is at odds with our mission.

Disability, inequality, and missed opportunities
Several thousand Georgia residents with intellectual and physical disabilities and disability rights advocates gather outside the Georgia statehouse for
2016 Disability Day, celebrating 25 years of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.
Several thousand Georgia residents with intellectual and physical disabilities and disability rights advocates gather outside the Georgia statehouse for
2016 Disability Day, celebrating 25 years of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

The fact is, people with disabilities—whether visible or invisible—face harsh inequalities. People with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental health
disabilities do not benefit from the same opportunities as those without. This inequality is pervasive, and it regularly intersects with other forms of
inequality we already address in our work.

For instance, RespectAbility found that
more than 750,000 people in our jails and prisons have a disability.
How many times have I thought, talked, or written about the imperative of criminal justice reform in the past year, I wonder, without thinking about this
aspect of the crisis at all?

And so, for me and for the foundation, my first question was: How had this happened—how could we possibly miss this? The answer, simply put, is power,
privilege, and ignorance—each of which multiplies the prejudicial effects of the other.

I am personally privileged in countless ways—not least of which is that I am able bodied, without immediate family members who have a disability. In my
own life, I have not been forced to consider whether or not there were ramps before entering a building, or whether a website could be used by people who
were hearing or visually impaired.

In the same way that I have asked my white friends to step outside their own privileged experience to consider the inequalities endured by people of color,
I was being held accountable to do the same thing for a group of people I had not fully considered. Moreover, by recognizing my individual privilege and
ignorance, I began to more clearly perceive the Ford Foundation’s institutional privilege and ignorance as well.

Some of my colleagues have raised the issue of disability rights in informal, individual conversations. Others have personal experience with disability,
or have cared for friends and family who do. Yet over the 18months that we meticulously crafted FordForward—an extensive, exhaustive process—we did not
meaningfully consider people with disabilities in our broader conversations about inequality.

Thinking back, I had believed that our institution—all our people, all our processes—would serve as a check and balance against individual biases. I assumed,
without really stopping to acknowledge my assumption, that issues I might overlook, or be ignorant of, would be raised by someone else—and that the space
was there to raise them. It is clear to me now that this was a manifestation of the very inequality we were seeking to dismantle, and I am deeply embarrassed
by it.

Yet the experience has kindled a learning moment for me—and for all of us at Ford—precisely because it affirms something important about how most institutions
work, or fail to, and how we can make them work better for more people.

This is not to say this system of checks and balances does not already exist. The diversity of perspectives within our organization and our board is perhaps
one of our greatest strengths. Still, as some have pointed out, this diversity does have gaps. As an organization composed of individuals with different
inherent biases, we are not immune to ignorance. While checking each other’s ignorance in one area, we may simultaneously—and unconsciously—reinforce and
even ratify it in another. In this way, an absent voice or constituency may not merely be unconsidered; it may as well not exist.

This kind of institutional ignorance is wide ranging. We see it when companies and organizations offer unpaid internships, and in the lack of diversity
on the
boards of cultural institutions.
We see it in the false choices between pro-victim and pro-law enforcement policy imperatives, and in responses to institutionalized racism more broadly.
I think it’s fair to say that this same narrow-mindedness
undercuts all of us in philanthropy
—and given our charge, it is unconscionable. Despite our best intentions, when we fail to address ignorance within our organizations, we are complicit
in allowing inequality to persist.

The good news is: We can change. And we are changing. Among all the many challenges facing our world and our work, the solution to this one is entirely
within our control. In order to make our organizations more effective, we must consciously, deliberately lead them to become less ignorant.

From ignorance to enlightenment

So how do we do this? How do we move from unwitting ignorance to enlightened action?

For my colleagues and me, the transformation starts with acknowledging our own fallibility and deficiencies. We are becoming more comfortable with uncomfortable
feedback. Rather than adopting a defensive posture by default, we are opening ourselves to dialogue and learning. As we know, change takes time, and we
may not succeed fully right away. But we are committed to doing better, and we hope that continual feedback will keep us honest.

In this particular case, we have sought out the counsel of numerous people with disabilities, as well as disability rights advocates—including visionary
leaders like Judy Heumann and former senator Tom Harkin, and our colleagues at the Open Society Foundations and Wellspring Advisors, who were pioneering
funders in this area more than a decade ago. These conversations have offered us tremendous insight into how we can—and will—include people with all types
of disabilities in our work.

To be clear, we will not initiate a new program on disabilities. Rather, we will integrate an inclusive perspective across all of our grantmaking. As I’ve
come to learn, the mantra of the disability community is “Nothing about us, without us”—words that ring true across our work. After all, we make better
decisions when we hear and heed the important contributions of all humankind. And I am confident that by adding and applying this additional lens across
our efforts—by asking the extra question, Are we mindful of the needs of people with disabilities?—we will see new opportunities we otherwise might have
missed.

We also are taking immediate, practical action. For starters, we revisited our plans for the renovation of our headquarters to ensure that we go beyond
the requirements of the ADA, so people with and without disabilities have the same quality of experience in the Ford Foundation building. We are also addressing
our hiring practices. And soon we will ask all potential vendors and grantees to disclose their commitments to people with disabilities in the context
of their efforts on diversity and inclusion.

This is an example of how the Ford Foundation is striving to redress an issue we didn’t get right. But more than that, it is a call to reflect on our
personal and collective ignorance—and to work more conscientiously to combat that ignorance, no matter what shape it takes.

For some, this might mean reconsidering the makeup of a board or leadership team—or reexamining recruiting and hiring practices that may unintentionally
exclude certain people. For others, it might mean reassessing a program based on the context that surrounds it, or reflecting on the language we use when
we talk about the people we work with. Or it might mean asking for uncomfortable comments and criticism, and seizing them as an opportunity for growth.

Demanding more of ourselves, delivering more for others

We simply cannot and will not defeat the enemies of justice—or dispel ignorance—without taking time to reflect on our own lives, and without asking difficult
questions: Who am I forgetting? Which of my assumptions are flawed? Which of my beliefs are misbegotten?

To do this, we need to put aside our pride. We need to open our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts in order to embrace a complete and intersectional view of
inequality. Only when we permit ourselves to be equal parts vigilant and vulnerable, can we model the kind of honest self-reflection we hope to see across
our society.

If “ignorance allied with power” is, in fact, the greatest enemy of justice—and the greatest fuel for inequality—then empathy and humility must be among
justice’s greatest allies. This will be the work of our year ahead and beyond. It is the work of engaging directly with the root causes and circumstances
of injustice that make philanthropy both possible and necessary.

For my part, I am hopeful. By demanding and expecting more of ourselves and our institutions, we can deliver more for others. By listening more to each
other, we can continue to forge a more just way forward, together.
Foundation.

writer is
#Darren Walker,
President

How Dennis Itumbi Digital director statehouse wants you and me to celebrate his birthday

Aside

Pastor’s Moment
:
#Dennis Itumbi
Today I write to invite you to share my birthday with me on 19th March, at The Moi Avenue Primary School in Nairobi.

My invite, which I post today will be a long essay. Kindly read along.

Sometimes what we preach is best practiced.

The sermon on that day, is what Paul wrote to the Galatians 2:10 “….Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”

On that day, we will do something different.

We will cook Chapatti’s (Chapos) for street children.

I am asking you to come with a rolling pin, a packet of Unga if you can, but most importantly, energy and passion and let us cook together.

#ChapatiForum
led by
Roman Kariuki
and
Anna Anne
will be in the house coordinating the cooking and the mentoring. Ann has been working with street kids for the last few months and will bring on board
a lot of insights

If you have old clothes, blankets, shoes, please come with them and let us interact and add a little warmth and smile to someone we do not know.

Now I know all those questions, why food for one day? why street children is that not encouraging them to flood the city instead of clearing them?

I considered those questions at length before deciding to share my birthday and to mobilise my friends and all of you to be part of the initiative, offering
your friendship to that group of people is to offer my best resource to strangers, I therefore got have answers for those deep questions.

I value your time and friendship, I will never mobilise you to service for the sake of it – let me therefore explain.

Out of all possible groups like children homes, the aged and all, I consider Street Children and the homeless as the best challenge, without good challenge
we rarely stretch ourselves to the limit.

I have never heard a comprehensive solution for this group of people. However, one of the first steps we can take is be friends to them as a people and
share the values of humanity with them.

My experience on this matter changed one day, when a young girl walked to me, not nagging me for some cash, instead she told me, ” brathee usinifukuze,
tomb tu ni kama naomxa peas nitakuambia halo mbelee….” (My brother do not chase me away, just keep walking as if am pestering you for cash)

Skipping the details, she explained that she needed to get away from the eyes of the mother who was hiding somewhere watching her and that all she wanted
was to go to school and get her family out of the streets.

I did not buy her story. but I handed her cash some for the mother and some for her and the younger bro.

Before walking away, I asked her if she knew any school in Nairobi. She mentioned xxxx Primary School. “Sisi hulala kwa kachorochoro hapo karibu..” (we
sleep in a pathway next to the school)

I told her we meet there the next day if she was serious. I did not give a time. To be sincere I did not even turn up the next day.

Many weeks later, the same girl approached me near I&M building and before i could employ a popular strategy blaming her for not turning up, she told me,
“usijali, naelewa umekuwa kazi, tuma mtu ama upige simu shule..”(Do not worry, I know you have been working, please send someone or call the school)

She had turned up for our school date, she sat at the stage the entire day and waited unsuccessfully for me, admiring different children as they carried
their school bags to school.

But the mistrust accumulated fairly over the years, filled my view with smoke, i could not see the sincerity in her eyes and the passion in her heart only
stopped by lack of resources and an upbringing that had taught her she could only make it in life by begging for favours.

At her age she had decided she was not going to live a life of begging by choice, she was going to try and rewrite her narrative and curve a new path for
her destiny.

“Mimi ndio najua hii maisha, mimi ndio nitamaliza mambo ya chokora nikisoma,” (I understand street life, I will deal with it and finish it if I go through
school)

Anyway, she was admitted to school and since we have free primary education the cost was minimal, 40 bob a day for Lunch in school. and other administrative
costs came to less than 15,000 for the whole year plus uniform costs.

But after school it meant she was going to sleep along family on a pathway. Thats not all the mother supplements family income by engaging in prostitution
with drunkards – i will not go to the details of that for now.

A teacher offers to get a house for the family near the school to avoid transport costs, we pay 6 months rent, but there is a problem they have a brother
who also needs to go to school, that too is sorted.

But a bigger problem is yet to be resolved, the mother now has a location for her prostitution and the children we come to learn from the young girl is
firmly exposed.

I will tell the rest of the story someday, including the other initiatives that have to be employed to have this children both who are doing well remain
in schools and the problems associated with it.

The bottom line is, we can change the story of street children by letting them access the tools and means that can empower them to participate i the solution
about them.

Most importantly we do not have to wait to strategic plans to come to life, someday they will, but we can change their lives, one street child at a time,
by just sharing love and listening to them

It is on that ground that I am providing a platform for you to spend a day with them, for you to cook Chapos for them (as we see if you really can cook
what you claim unakalia ama umekaliwa) and I must say there is no better place for me to mark my birthday than with those great kids and their families
too.

It is scripture that records that, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.’

“… For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I
needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ …

If you can do any of those please do.

I dedicate my 2016 birthday to Street children and the homeless

God Bless You and Keep You
#be counted
#if I will be present why not you

My Visit to Israel

#Israel Day 1

23rd December 2015

THE BUS RIDE

The experience since I arrived in Israel is quite enormous; I cannot get it off my mind.

From the moment I landed at the airport, I couldn’t believe the reception that I got. The access received was excellent. The airport attendants seem to have been taught mobility and orientation well. They surpassed my wildest dreams and expectations. As we drove through the streets, I was awaiting to find the usual traffic that we get back home. It could be habit, or adaptability to the traffic norms faced in Kenya, but Alas!! The experience left me with utter amazement. There wasn’t any traffic even for a single second. It felt like I had jumped time zones to what we are hoping for as far as accessibility is concerned for Vision 2030. I kept asking my host “Is there no traffic???”. In Israel physical access is the order of the day. Blind persons here literally have free transport as long as an official photo is taken and used at the bus stop or the train station as identification.

In my country Kenya we are advocating for better access of road, not just access but road safety. I pay for my sighted guide. It is a life-changing contrast to what I’m experiencing here in Israel. Isn’t it ironic that all I need is a photo to get a free ride all over Israel?? Being blind in Israel isn’t a disability, but an opportunity to continue living your life with as minimal hurdles as possible. The transport system is the best I have ever experienced. Access is a right and not a privilege.

#Disability Soldier.

Summary Points on Transport Features (Israel)

The Reality of Transport in Israel is as follows:-

  1. Accessibility is a right and not a privilege like we experience in Kenya.
  2. The Blind Certificate is similar to what we call disability card in Kenya.
  3. All Blind persons are simply required to produce their identification card at the public bus service and train station, and you go where you want in the country.

https://www.facebook.com/mugambi.paul.988/media_set?set=a.1027275033959454.1073741854.100000309023349&type=3 (bus ride)

https://www.facebook.com/mugambi.paul.988/videos/vb.100000309023349/1027277310625893/?type=3&theater (bus video)

  1. For the first time in history I crossed the busy highway- pedestrian lane without any assistance.
  2. I have not come across any potholes, sewage holes, trenches etc
  3. From the houses to the roads, it’s accessible. Accessibility is the order of the day.
  4. The blind rarely use the White Cane. They interact more with guide dogs. The guide dogs are offered free food by the government.
  5. Access is available even up to the beach while in Kenya this is a problem even in our own offices or houses. What I am experiencing here in Israel is no longer fodder for the imagination. It has become an actual reality that has me mesmerized day in, and day out.
  6. Drivers are trained to handle blind persons.

I will leave here with a lot of unforgettable memories.

VISIT TO THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY- JERUSALEM

This is a summary of my visit to Hebrew University Jerusalem. It is the home of Aleh organization where I experienced the Smart Board demonstration. The points below provide a summary of my experience.1. Deliver services to the Blind and Visually Impaired students in the five universities to pursue their academics.

2. run a pre-university for blind and visually impaired persons.

3. Coordinates the National Service for the Blind and Visually Impaired since they cannot join the regular soldier activities.

5. Supports the blind and visually impaired children with mentorship

5. Supports the children of blind and visually impaired parents.

7. Supports referrals for blind persons to get the blind certificate.

8. Operates Information Centres in the 20 Ophthalmologists’ hospitals where the newly blind persons are referred to and empowered about the services available for the blind in Israel and where to get them.

Blind and visually impaired people read in a variety of ways, just like anyone else.

  • In print: for many partially sighted readers, they use well-designed print information using a minimum 12 point size font on good quality. They don’t use shiny paper. This makes a real difference.
  • On a computer: Available software enlarges screen text. It speaks with a synthetic voice or shows information in Braille on a refreshable Braille display. Blind and partially sighted people can thus read electronic documents if they are designed with accessibility in mind.
  • In Braille, large print or audio is used since not everyone has access to a computer.
  • At the Hebrew University for the first time, I learnt how the visually impaired can be taught by making the environment accessible. With the smart board, you can become a lecturer using a smart pen and board. You can adjust the length, and colour using icons. Once you write on the smart board, it gets connected to the whole network of the computers.  As a student, you can adjust it to meet your needs e.g. colour, fonts, and the overall view. This is best for the visually impaired learners.

·         Persons with eyesight problems can utilize their residual sight optimally. This can also apply to cognitive and students with learning disabilities. This is what schools in Kenya need to adapt as we head towards inclusive education. As we talk about the laptops, we need to speak about the smart boards too.  Students with eyesight issues don’t need to strain on the board but concentrate on what the teacher has written, and it will appear on their computers.

#What a life.

#Technology is solving problems.

#Accessibility at its best.

#Disability Soldier Nasema.

  • The information assists all of us to make decisions, become involved with the society and lead their lives independently. Blind and partially sighted people have the right to be able to do this just like every other citizen.
  • This right to information is internationally recognized  (from Article 21 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (External link).
  • Furthermore, it makes good business sense. As people are living longer and sight problems increase with age, a growing number of individuals will be blind or visually impaired who can join my clan.
  • Making information accessible is not expensive or complicated. It simply requires some awareness and a shift in the production process and staff. Getting accessibility not only benefits the blind and partially sighted. e.g. an accessible website will rank higher in search engines; accessible documents are easier to maintain, update, and convert into other formats.

https://www.facebook.com/mugambi.paul.988/videos/vb.100000309023349/1030429983643959/?type=3&theater (Accessibility materials for the blind)

https://www.facebook.com/mugambi.paul.988/media_set?set=a.1030419313645026.1073741855.100000309023349&type=3 (smartboard experience)
THE OrCAM DEVICE

The climax of my Israel visit is the actualization of my dream of getting to experience the Orcam device. The OrCam device is a small camera wearable in the style of Google Glass. It is connected by a thin cable to a portable computer designed to fit in the wearer’s pocket. The system clips on to the wearer’s glasses with a small magnet and uses a bone-conduction speaker to offer clear speech as it reads aloud the words or object pointed to by the user.

The system is designed to both recognize and speak “text in the wild,” a term used to describe newspaper articles as well as bus numbers, and objects as diverse as landmarks, traffic lights, and the faces of friends. As you can see from my experience, totally awesome.

The OrCam system has a simplified user interface design. To recognize an object or text, the wearer points at it and the device then interprets the object or scene. The audio information is transmitted to a bone conduction speaker, similar to the Google Glass headset.

Other Exciting Moments in Israel

 

 In conclusion, mostly in my country blind persons and majority of persons with disabilities do not have access to tourist sites. It is not because we don’t want to, however the environment has not been conducive and there lacks implemention of affirmative action on the sites according to the disability act 2003 which is currently on review.

I had a lifetime experience at the beach

I couldn’t believe accessibility was upto the beach!

Still in shock

 

https://www.facebook.com/mugambi.paul.988/videos/vb.100000309023349/1026007980752826/?type=3&theater (Mugambi in the gym) https://www.facebook.com/mugambi.paul.988/media_set?set=a.1025994720754152.1073741851.100000309023349&type=3 (Ashkelon Beach)
 

Visit to the Marina and Lighthouse,

If you said a Blind person cannot enjoy being a tourist then you are wrong !check it out.

https://www.facebook.com/mugambi.paul.988/media_set?set=a.1030424580311166.1073741856.100000309023349&type=3 (marina lighthouse)

life time mwenjoyo (life time enjoyment)

Whereby access to the route is fantastic, you can plan to visit it. You will love it.

There are beautiful sceneries.

The children are trained in boat sailing, diving, canoeing. It’s part of the school curriculum. Those who are hydrophobic mko na shida. (those of you who are hydrophobic will miss out)

Sweet melodies sounds blew the air waves while the wind blew at its best, at the Ashkalon beach.

I wish I could stay here longer. Going back to Kidero Potholes and Grass brings thoughts of misery. However, I intend to return to my country Kenya with knowledge and exposure   beyond my wildest dreams that will assist our cause to drive positive change in the Disability Movement.

I thank God for creating the opportunity to visit Israel, and to experience a different aspect of life as a blind individual. It is a memory that will be etched in my mind forever.

#DisabilitySoldier

#social justice is what we need as persons with disabilities.

We should say no more charity

I say “No more charity”

Nairobi Memoirs Part 8

#a mile in my shoes
25th March 2004
Two of my clan mates “Blind” had gone to shop for shoes at an exhibition in town.
The Indian trader refused to attend to them. He began to punch blows left right and centre that they forgot the entrance. An ensuing running battle began in the exhibition. It was the mercy of other clients who saved my brothers from being sent to the creator.
The trader thought being blind equates one to being a beggar not knowing that we can also be clients. This happened when they were new to Nairobi and being “freshers” they were quite traumatized by the experience.
If the trader and the customers sympathized or empathized that’s a story for another day.
Nairobi memoires
Copyright 2015

Nairobi Memoirs Part 7

As I walked downtown on Latema road where the Transline vehicles are located.
I heard a soft spoken charming voice say “Mlete huyo ni customer wangu!”
My guide and I were on the move. With no hesitation my guide was caught unaware from the shouting and tap on his shoulders.

“Unapeleka wapi customer wangu?” “Wow! Hujui namjua? ata alikuwa kwa gazeti”

Nairobi you are teaching me a lot. You are making me miss the desert! There is no attention there. I responded politely “I am not travelling to Kericho today”
I am wondering….

If she empathized or sympathized with me, that’s a story for another day.
Nairobi memoires
#copyright 2015

Nairobi Memoirs Part 6

As I entered the lift today, a beautiful lady asked me?
“Are you going to the 6th floor?”
I responded “Yes” not knowing she will follow me as Gloria Muliro sings.
After reaching my floor, I decided to visit “The John” and to my surprise she almost entered!”
“Where have I seen you?” She asked.
“Wow, Wow! You are the activist of the year, I saw you in the newspaper last week!”
If she sympathized or empathized with me
That’s a story for another day
#Nairobi Memoires
Copyright 2015

Nairobi Memoirs Part 5

no

As I walked downtown past the ICEA building we were chatting with my friends on how we could contribute towards the reduction of poverty (A story for another day). An elegant and smartly dressed lady was in front of us. Fortunately or unfortunately I happened to step on her! (You know what happens on Fridays’ in Nairobi)

She quickly began to throw tantrums at us!
Once I had not unfolded the “Fimboyangu!,” I decided to tell her am sorry three times. The gentleman in me repeated again and again!.
She adamantly shouted “Why have you stepped on me?”
As the crowd began gathering around us
I told her politely
“Madam you decided not to see like me?”
She was surprised her heart almost jumped out of her chest!
She began to almost hug me and give me a lot of sorries.

If she sympathized or empathized with me it’s a story for another day!
Nairobi memoires
Copyright 2015

Nairobi Memoirs Part 4

A Deaf client had visited me. I know what comes to mind.
How can a blind man and a Deaf person communicate?
since most channels of communication we have been taught have locked us out of communication.
By now my reader of this post you are wondering
“OOOH my Goodness? what happens?”
I live you to ponder on that!
If you sympathize or empathize that’s a story for another day.
#ask me tomorrow
Nairobi memoires
Copyright 2015