KALRO ventures into the world of the differently disabled

Chanika Disabled Self Help Group is unique. One may at first be struck by the health and well-being status of the members until Solomon Nyamai, popularly referred to as Kathenge explains. “I am a retired, but not tired teacher, and I am the Secretary of the Group. Behind me is the Treasurer. She will introduce herself. The Group is made up of people abled differently. Some are blind, physically challenged, and others are mentally challenged. The few members you see here are representatives of those that are challenged in the ways I have mentioned.” He went on to explain that the Group has 26 members, up from 17 when they started. They were advised by the Social Welfare Office to start any income generating venture to attract funding either from donors or Government. They chose poultry farming (for income) and soap making. “It is the able guardians of the members that carry out the activities, together with the few that can move and are not mentally challenged” Kathenge explained.

The group started working with the Catholic Diocese of Kitui referred to as CARITAS in October 2015. CARITAS gets backstopping from ASAL-APRP through KALRO-Katumani. CARITAS was trained by KALRO-Katumani on amaranth production and value-addition, and in turn trained 52 other groups in Kitui. Group members have different sizes of land under amaranth totaling to 10 acres. Kathenge pointed out that the Group aims to diversify to amaranth commercialisation once they have sufficient quantities. They use their current harvest mainly as a nutritional supplement and in baking for sale through CARITAS. The proceeds are banked in the Group’s account.