Niko Fiti economically empowering persons with disabilities
The Niko Fiti ‘Ability Beyond Disability’ Campaign is a Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Kenya Reinsurance Corporation that seeks to empower Persons With Disability to undertake their daily operations with minimal dependency, enable them to have access to education and employment thus resulting in economic growth. This has been achieved through the provision of mobility and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, special seats, try-cycles, canes, crutches, polio boots, urine bags, calipers and prosthesis.
Since its inception in 2011, the Campaign has touched and changed the lives of over 2000 Persons with Disability in different counties across Kenya, through the provision of assistive and mobility devices. The campaign has traversed the whole country through 5 caravans in the last 3 years, with a dedicated team that issued the various devices.
During the course of the campaign, hundreds of beneficiaries requested for financial help to either start businesses or boost the businesses they have as giving devices only ensures mobility and accessibility of PWDs and is only one step towards their rehabilitation.
In a bid to meet its obligation of rehabilitating the beneficiaries, the Niko Fiti campaign has taken a different direction. This year, the campaign seeks to empower persons with disability by giving some form of financial assistance to the beneficiaries to enable them become self-reliant through business start-ups.
The campaign is under the theme “Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability” has seen Kenya Re distribute Mobile Vending Units as well as start-up stock to 160 Persons with Disability from Kibra, Kamunkunji and Kasarani areas of Nairobi County. This will give the beneficiaries a chance to contribute to the socio-economic building of the economy.
The beneficiaries have undergone financial management training in a move to enable them start up, run and grow their businesses. The training was on basic principles of governance, book keeping and basic finance to educate the beneficiaries on how to manage the profits they make to sustain their ventures in the long run. Plans are underway to establish a business park in Nairobi where the beneficiaries will operate from.
Nairobi is being used a model satellite and its success will see the new initiative rolled out in other parts of the country.
To assess the success rate of the new model, the Niko Fiti team has made site visits to some of the work stations of the beneficiaries. One of the beneficiaries visited was Gerald Munga a resident of Kibra, who operates his business at the Bus Station within Nairobi City Centre. Having received a Mobile Vending Unit and start-up stock just like the other beneficiaries, Gerald has managed to grow his business tremendously. He tripled his stock in about 2 months and bought additional stock different from what he received, to the amazement of his fellow businessmen.
He attributes his success to the training he received from Kenya Re on financial management stating that it has enabled him keep his records and separate his profits from the money he puts back into the business.
Mr. Munga says that he can now comfortably educate his children and take care of his family. He hopes to open a supermarket in the near future. “I am very grateful to Kenya Re for extending this kind of support to us. I see my dreams coming true because of the assistance given by Kenya Re and I know that I will succeed and live to see my dream come true,” he concludes.
Kenya Re hopes to extend this new model of the Niko Fiti Campaign to other counties across the nation and empower more persons with disability towards enabling them become financially independent.
Kenya Re is carrying out the campaign in partnership with Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) and Standard Group. APDK is charged with the responsibility of identifying the most deserving cases and fabrication of the devices and organises for their appearance at the distribution sites and Standard Group as the media partner.