ONE DISABILITY STUDENT'S AMBITION TO ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE IN KENYA
Postgraduate disability student James Karanja is pioneering disability support in Kenya.
James Karanja is changing the narrative surrounding disability in his home country by advocating for disability rights, filling in the gaps for those who fall through the system’s cracks.
“My career objective is to empower people with disability to take charge of their own lives by bringing down barriers that limit their potential and accessibility to services,” he says.
“This is not an easy task. One needs to have the right tools in the form of skills, knowledge and experience that are critical in promoting disability rights as human rights.”
James decided to undertake a Master of Disability Policy and Practice at Flinders on an Australia Awards Scholarship to advance his impact and strengthen his leadership in the Kenyan disability community.
“My choice of Flinders University was inspired by the rich history of the university as a global leader in disability studies,” he says.
“The Master of Disability Policy and Practice was the right choice for me because it offered advanced skills and specialised knowledge to support the participation and contribution of people with diverse needs in the community.
“The desire to change the disability sector in Kenya is my drive towards pursuing a degree that perfectly matches my career goal.”
James’ dedication to disability empowerment is demonstrated through his achievements within the industry, each one implementing steps to generate big change.
“I founded an organisation called Autism Support Centre (Kenya) in 2012, and a parent support group called Differently Talented Society of Kenya,” he explains.
“As a leader in disability in Kenya, I have been at the forefront in creating autism awareness, acceptance and inclusion especially in a country where disability stigma is a major impediment to empowerment of people with disability.
“I have been involved in creating innovative programs to raise autism awareness and empower young people with autism and other developmental disabilities.”
James hopes to change the stigma surrounding disability, encouraging people to make the most out of the life they have through education and social connection.
His ongoing contributions in the disability sector will continue to have an important impact on its future, providing optimism and opportunity for all people in society.
“I am proud of my performance so far and hope not to just acquire a degree at the end of my course but be inspired to be the change the world needs and more so, the change Africa needs in matters to do with disability.”
Learn more about James’ work at Autism Support Centre (Kenya).
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