Many of the artisans we partner with in Kenya are hearing impaired. Their work in cooperatives creates job opportunities that would otherwise be nonexistent.
Many employers in Kenya are unwilling to make accommodations to hire people who are hearing impaired, causing the unemployment rate among the deaf community to rise to 85%. Because of this desperate need for job creation, a small group of hearing impaired women created an artisan cooperative that employs without discrimination. Artisans have the opportunity to learn jewelry-making, earn a fair wage, and learn that their hearing impairment does not sentence them to a life of poverty.
Like many deaf people in Kenya, Dorothy felt she was a burden on her family and friends. A lack of community, combined with unemployment and rejection, left her feeling isolated for most of her life.
Since joining the cooperative, Dorothy has become financially independent while being an integral part of a supportive community. Rather than feeling helpless and isolated, she feels proud of her work and hopeful about her future.