Pastors and Religious Leaders

Many people in Kenya, even Christian pastors, believe disabilities are caused by witchcraft or are a punishment from God. Since over 90% of Kenyans practice Christianity, pastors’ views on disability have a significant impact on views held by community members. Kupenda reaches out to these pastors by facilitating discussions focused on disabilities at meetings, workshops, and sermons. In recent years Kupenda has begun to expand these outreach activities to traditional healers and Muslim imams, who also have a significant influence on community values and beliefs in Kenya.

Kupenda’s advocacy efforts have inspired pastors and their congregations to help children with disabilities by:

  • arranging volunteer activities at local special needs facilities

  • providing food to children and families impacted by disability

  • improving wheelchair accessibility at their churches

  • including children with disabilities in all church activities

  • advocating for the rights of children and families impacted by disabilities during church sermons and activities


Leader Advocacy Transforms Safari’s Life

Safari was born deaf and, like so many other children in his position, was stigmatized by those around him and ostracized because community members thought his disability was caused by a curse. In addition to this, Safari lost his father in a tragic accident at a young age and struggled to cope with this. Fortunately, Kupenda trained local pastors and religious leaders in Safari’s community as advocates for children with disabilities. After this training, a local leader was able to recognize that Safari was struggling and intervened. Today, Safari is an accomplished, educated young man thanks to Kupenda’s trainings and the disability advocacy work conducted by religious leaders in his community as he was growing up. Read Safari’s full story here.

Pastor Zaki Learns How to Help Loice

Pastor Zaki used to feel helpless about a young girl in his church named Loice who had a hearing impairment and struggled to communicate with other children. He did not know how best to meet Loice’s needs until he attended a Kupenda pastors’ workshop where he learned how to advocate for children like Loice and used his influence as a community leader to destigmatize Loice’s disability. Because Pastor Zaki became such a strong advocate for Loice she is now more accepted by the community and is able to socialize with other children. Read Loice’s full story here.

Disability is Not a Dirty Word

Issa is a young boy with cerebral palsy who grew up in a community that saw him as “dirty” because of his disability. This stigma followed him around throughout his childhood until Kupenda intervened and helped him to access proper nutrition and medical care. As a result, Issa grew physically and gained more autonomy in his daily life. Kupenda’s family counseling sessions also helped Issa become more accepted by those closest to him. In addition to these counseling sessions, Kupenda trained influential religious leaders in Issa’s community and they became champions of advocacy for Issa’s rights. Read Issa’s full story here.