When Mutua was born, the last of five children, his mother’s age was already becoming a challenge to the family’s economic outlook. Her aging, arthritic fingers strained to pick coffee or sweep the floors of the homes of the family’s wealthier neighbors.
As Mutua grew, his mother worried about her youngest son’s slow development. On his mother’s lap, Mutua’s eyes brightened when she smiled. But, unlike when her other children were toddlers, Mutuadidn’t respond to her voice.
By Mutua’s first birthday, the family understood that he had been born deaf–the cause unknown.
Growing Up Deaf in Kenya
Growing up without hearing can be difficult anywhere, but in Kenya Mutua and his family faced many challenges. The few available health and educational facilities for deaf people are located in the big cities, far away from the rural area where Mutua was born. When strangers realized he couldn’t hear, Mutua saw their uncertain, fearful looks.
A priest in the Mutua’s church supported the family to send him to a special school for the deaf in a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Mutua’s father died before his son began his first day of primary school.
While at school, Mutua’s feelings of alienation began to fade. In a supportive environment, he flourished. He made friends easily with his big smile and warm personality. A natural runner, he won himself local fame by participating in a national athletic event while still in primary school. He began a habit of running every morning and evening.
As much as he loves sports, Mutua knows the importance of what happens inside the classroom. “Education is my future,” says Mutua.
‘Education is my Future’
Today, at 23, Mutua needs help to continue his high school education. His family cannot afford his school fees in order for him to graduate.
We first learned about Mutua from our partner Kenya Connect, one of our many excellent educational NGO partners. The School Fund partners with organizations like Kenya Connect, providing them an opportunity to connect donors directly with the students they serve. Meet all of our Kenya Connect students at www.theschoolfund.org/kenyaconnect.
‘We are so grateful to The School Fund for providing an opportunity for bright and needy students from our schools with an opportunity to realize their dreams by gaining secondary education and being resourceful people in the community,” says James Musyoka, Field Director & Director of Operations at Kenya Connect. “Through our partnership with The school Fund, we hope to promote literacy levels and reduce school drop our rates by a great margin.”