- The visit was also an opportunity for the team to talk to the learners about mental health and wellness, business, self-realization and self-acceptance, among other life lessons.
- The CSR aimed at giving back to society by reaching out to the less fortunate and usually-forgotten members.
- The learners and their teachers were glad for the visit, appreciating it as a show of love and compassion from the team.
Huduma Day, a holiday celebrated in Kenya every October 10, offers the space for a new spirit in service, as the name suggests, emphasizing community development and volunteerism.
Various activities geared towards promoting unity, community service, mentorship, social fairness, and long-term development, among others, mark the day, underlining its relevance.
For many, these holidays hold no much meaning, especially because they are yet to significantly realize their importance and contribution towards development.
For others, however, like The Finer Nails and Barbershop, this was a time to serve the community even more, reaching out to the less privileged at Kisii Vocational Rehabilitation Center – Nyanchwa, Kisii County.
The Finer Nails and Barbershop, located on the third floor of The Place building, opposite Rangi Mbili, Kisii town, is a beauty therapy business by Dr. Edna Orina, a Consultant Radiologist and the Head of Radiology, Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.
To the delight of the differently-abled learners, Dr. Orina led a group of eight staff members to freely offer the same services they offer to clients: shaving, manicure, pedicure, face scrubbing, and massage.
“Today we chose to close our doors and move out to offer volunteer services to the differently-abled learners at Kisii Vocational Rehabilitation Center,” she told Scholar Media Africa in an interview during the visit.
She said the Corporate Social Responsibility by her business aimed at giving back to society by reaching out to the less fortunate and usually-forgotten community members.
“The services we are offering here today may not be affordable to most of the learners by themselves because they are not earning now,” she said.
Adding that the beneficiaries are not defined but will be chosen based on their needs at that time for maximum impact, “Our plan is that we’ll be doing community service every quarter of the year,” she projected.
“Today being Huduma Day, we felt it life-changing to visit this facility, talk to the students, share our love with them by spending time with them and bringing them some products for their basic needs. Deep inside our hearts, we feel good,” said Dennis Nyagaka, one of the staff.
He says that it’s fulfilling and refreshing to him as an individual.
“This will not be the last time we are making such visits to give back to the community,” said Fredrick Ounga, his colleague staff.
The team expressed its joy and a sense of fulfilment from the corporate social responsibility, which speaks to us of the inner joy that comes with being of service and impact to those around us.
The visit was also an opportunity for the team to talk to the learners about mental health and wellness, business, self-realization and self-acceptance, among other life essentials.
According to Joseph Ondieki, who is the Manager at the institution, the rehabilitation center has 83 students, most of whom have physical body challenges.
He is deputized by Olivia Kaburu, who thanked the visitors for showing love, compassion and care to the institution.
In microcosm, the institution’s community of learners is an inspiring collection of resilience, hard work, determination, self-acceptance and hope, continuously exhibited by the young minds.
“While attending to their needs, today we are also mentoring them by bringing to them the practical aspect of what they study here, such as hairdressing and beauty therapy. This will speak to them about one of the businesses they can start when they join the job market soon,” added Dr. Orina.
About the institution
Mr. Ondieki says that the rehabilitation facility was started in 1972 and runs under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Department of Social Services, offering services related to the rehabilitation of physically disabled people.
“This involves people who move on wheelchair, walk on crutches and others who don’t have some of the body parts,” he says.
Here, they are trained on the same skills and courses their physically fit counterparts are studying in same-level colleges, such as Welding and Fabrication, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Tailoring and Dressmaking, Computer, Knitting, and Leatherwork and Shoemaking.
“We prepare them to be self-reliant in society, then release them to go and support their communities,” he clarifies, adding, “This is their school, tailored for them, and I’m encouraging them to come and train.
With these learners regularly needing assistance with their daily live engagements, he adds that the institution also considers several physically fit students.
“They boost the institution staff’s efforts in helping the other students with their mobility needs, washing clothes, fetching water for them and other basic needs provision within the institution,” he explained.
This helps the differently-abled find self-acceptance, motivation and market-ready as they compete with the able-bodied studied within the institution.
Through advertisements, engaging District Social Development Officers, Administrative officers and the local media, the school is able to get more differently-abled people from the society and enroll them for the courses.
Mr. Ondieki calls for parents and relatives of people with physical body challenges to consider enrolling them to gain the skills and equip them for the outside market, just like their family members.
Acknowledging that many parents hide such children, he adds that they, too, deserve to be prioritized, agreeing that he would be glad to stretch a little bit and accommodate them in the institution.
In Kenya, there are only 12 such institutions for the physically challenged, and the Kisii-based facility serves the Nyanza region.
“The rehabilitation involves training and skilling them in vocational skills, and restoring their sense of importance in the society, which they are usually robbed of when they are neglected and viewed as unskilled,” he says.
For the physically fit, they have a one-year training, with their counterparts going for two or three years, depending on their needs and capabilities.
The learners’ national examining body is the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA).
The institution has four government-employed instructors and four part-time instructors, and other support staff.
He calls upon the government to consider boosting the staffing, even as expansion plans continue taking shape.
To support them in realizing their goals, the government has the Startup Toolkits program, which gives toolkits to the differently-abled learners upon release to the job sector to ease their starting up of businesses.
Unlike any other same-skilling college out there, “Here, the physically-fit pay a fee of KSh20,000 only, while the challenged ones pay half the amount, which is only KSh10,000 per year, which caters for tution, meals and boarding,” says Manager Ondieki.
The government subsidies are a major boost to such institutions and their beneficiaries.
Mr. Ondieki says that the school, however, lacks a vehicle to help it manage logistics, including taking them out for practical lessons, tours and, for those needing regular medical check-ups, to the hospital.
To ease the facility’s operations, he calls upon the county government of Kisii to consider having free piped water and better drainage systems and the school.
Mr. Ondieki thanked the Finer Nails and Barber Shop team for considering the facility and visiting them. He was grateful for the products the team had come along with, including sanitary pads, foodstuffs and other products for the learners.
“The products are a gift to us and the visit is an indication of love for us. We are grateful,” he said.
Andrew Nyang’au, the students’ head, said, “When we see such visits, which are very rare to us, we find joy and the assurance that people care about us.”
He thanked the team for offering its services for free to them for free.
Judith Ogutu, born in Homa Bay County, joined the school in 2019.
“I was dreaming of becoming a receptionist, because I can do better with my mouth than with my body,” she says.
Ms. Ogutu is studying knitting.
She was grateful that Finer Nails and Barber Shop came to visit them, encourage and motivate them, and urges them to continue supporting them.
Worryingly, in unison, the students asked the government to offer them more support, including publicizing of the institution and recognizing it more for their benefit.