Kenya, Australia partner to train people with autism
The government of Kenya, in partnership with Australia, yesterday launched a programme in which people living with autism will be trained on various skills that will enable them access job opportunities, both formal and informal.
Speaking during the launch of the programme dubbed Building Economic Resilience for Families Living with Autism, Director General of the National Industrial Training Authority Stephen Ogenga said the programme is inspired by the need to mitigate economic hardships faced by most families who have people with such conditions.
“Most of these people have a lot of potential but they always end up being ignored. We want to impact them with entrepreneurial skills where after training they will have a good opportunity to start their own businesses,” he said.
Ogenga said the two countries had partnered with various stakeholders, including Differently Talented Society of Kenya, to also empower caregivers by imparting artisan skills that promote active participation in open employment.
The six-month courses will range from mechanics, food and nutrition and beauty.
The government has set aside Sh6 million for the programme which will be implemented in partnership with the Australian High Commission.
At the initial phases, the programme is targeting close to 60 people but the number is expected to increase gradually.
Speaking during the launch, Australian High Commissioner to Kenya Luke Williams said the embassy had allocated Sh1.7 million to the programme.
“Autism is not a condition experienced only here in Kenya but also in Australia. With such programmes we know we will simply kill the culture of begging that most of these people end up in. We are looking at a situation where even after training they will be boosted with some capital to start businesses,” he said.
Currently, Williams said, the commission was engaging more donors in Australia to boost the funding contributions.
Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Labor Jackson Kalla called for public-private partnerships towards empowerment of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
Kalla noted that there was a growing need for PWDs to get education assistance, assistive technologies and devices and infrastructure to help them successfully run their start-ups and increase their employability prospects. “We are encouraging our friends in the corporate sector to give these people job opportunities. Most of them have a lot of potential to transform companies,” he said.