Disabled Kirinyaga man vows to go all out in 2022 to bag MCA seat
Friday, September 24th, 2021 14:10 | 2 mins read
Harrison Kariuki, who was born deaf in 1990 at Karumandi village in Gichungu Constituency of Kirinyaga County, has never let his condition define his life journey.
Kariuki says that in his early childhood, he was enrolled into a mainstream public school since his parents were not aware that he was supposed to be registered at a special school.
Kariuki's life later took a positive turn after one of his aunts advised his parents to enroll him in a school for the deaf.
After successfully going through the education system, he set eyes empowering the deaf community and joined a non-governmental organization known as Volunteer Services Overseas, VSO.
In 2018, he was nominated and won the In-Country Award for his efforts to empower the deaf community. Kariuki was presented with the precious award in London.
The 31-year-old has now decided to go against all odds and vie for Karumandi Ward representative seat in next year's general elections.
The father of one, who is currently working as a Gender and Social Development officer in Nandi County, said that his ambition is to improve the lives of People Living With Disabilities, through proper legislation at the county assembly by championing for ensure inclusivity.
"I want to ensure that the people of Karumandi and Kirinyaga county at large have access to better health care services, inclusive vocational training centers as well as PWDs in various development activities," his manifesto reads in part.
The main challenge, he notes, lies in the mode of communication with the electorate since a large portion of the Kenyan population is not conversant with sign language.
To overcome the situation, Kariuki, has settled on communicating to locals via written messages.
"I will be using a pen and a paper to pass my message to Karumandi Ward electorates," he said.
Kariuki, who tied the knot with a deaf lady a few years ago, further noted that lack of a professional Kenyan sign language interpreters has been another set back in his campaigns.
"My campaigns and political marketing for my candidature for the post of Karumandi ward MCA has been going well except for lack of funds and lack of a sign language interpreters. This has been a major challenge as I embark on this political journey," he told K24 Digital.
On matters regarding Covid 19 pandemic, Kariuki said that deaf people have suffered from job loses as well as experiencing communication difficulties since they rely heavily on lip-reading while communicating.
"Deaf people have been experiencing communication difficulties during the pandemic since covering our mouths with masks makes it difficult to read lips while communicating amongst ourselves," he notes.