The Deaf people of Kwale welcome you
In 2017, The Umoja Foundation with support from Stichting 't Groenland (both from the Netherlands), established the Deaf Centre in Kwale as a community centre for Deaf and hard of hearing people from all over the region. At that time, Deaf people lived scattered around the rural areas. They faced numerous challenges to find work and to participate in society. Some young Deaf leaders started to gather Deaf youth and initiated several support programs in order to create opportunities for them. Mainly sports was used as a tool to bring Deaf youth out of their isolation and to create a sense of community and togetherness. This initiative was picked up by the Umoja Foundation from The Netherlands and that has led to the establishment of the Deaf Centre.
Nowadays, the Deaf Centre functions as a meeting place for Deaf people from all over Kwale county. It is a vibrant and lively centre where Deaf people can gather for sports activities, socializing, information, and various support programs. The Deaf Centre helps young Deaf people to build an independent life and they strive to change negative beliefs about deafness that exist in society.
Built in the shape of an ear, the Deaf Centre has developed into an iconic building in the rural areas of South East Kenya. Continuously, about twenty Deaf young adults live there. After they have finished their secondary eduction, and possibly a vocational training, they can live at the Deaf centre for 2 years. During that time they participate in all kinds of activities and programs that are aimed at helping them to find their way in society. The Deaf youth receive training and coaching in how to deal with communication barriers, discrimination, and other challenges related to their deafness. They can also join several programs aimed at finding work and income, and they will be guided towards sustainable jobs. We want to prevent them to return to their parental home after they finished school and live a life in isolation, as was often the case.