Close to 15,000 deaf women and youth in Kenya are set to benefit from an economic empowerment project titled Boosting Economic Self-reliance of Deaf Women and Youth in Kenya (BESDY). The program will be implemented by the Deaf Empowerment Society of Kenya (DESK) with support from the Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF), and targets 5 counties; Embu, Meru, Migori, Vihiga and Nyamira.

The project will provide the beneficiaries with training in entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and innovative strategies. This will enable them to establish and operate sustainable small-scale businesses and to become self-reliant.

DESK advocates and lobbies for the economic empowerment and inclusion of the deaf and hard of hearing, who have continuously been marginalized in all areas of life in Kenya. The five counties were specifically selected due to the high prevalence of people with disabilities. The beneficiaries will also be empowered to explore business opportunities available at all levels of government and the private sector.

Speaking at the Izaak Walton Inn in Embu County during the launch, Jacob Ireri, the DESK CEO said the project will have a positive impact on the 9,000 deaf women and 6,000 youth beneficiaries. “DESK would like to express its sincere gratitude to The Coca-Cola Foundation for providing support for the project. We are passionate to partner with Foundation and we look forward to achieving all project goals,” added Ireri.

Said Saadia Madsbjerg, President of the Coca Cola Foundation said, “We are excited about the potential benefits that this program brings not only to the 15,000 direct participants, but also to their families and constituencies. We recognize the difference this program will make throughout Kenya.”