Tuesday, 02 January 2007

Mzee Wango correcting GDC's 'distortion'

that was given to me by one of my colleagues working in Kenya's Deaf community. Mzee Wango (Peter Wango Opany) is the Executive Director of KNAD. He is a good man and he have worked hard for Kenya's Deaf Community. Big good heart.

It is for Dr Ron of Global Deaf Connection based in Minnesota, a State in the USA.



Dear Sir / Madam,


Kenya National Association of the deaf, a non governmental non profit making charitable organization that promotes the welfare of the Deaf Citizens of Kenya, in all spheres affecting their fundamental rights, do thank your organization for the important role you are playing by supporting Deaf teachers who are undertaking their teaching courses financially and materially as well as paying salaries for 6 sign language interpreters in the college where Deaf students are stationed. This is plaudible in the eyes of the Government of Kenya, Parents of the Deaf and the Deaf Community at large. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!

Meanwhile you have relieved KNAD from the difficult task of seeking funds to support the needy Deaf student teachers from the enormous task of securing funds, which was difficult at the beginning of 1996 when the first batch of Deaf teachers were admitted into
Machakos Teachers College. This was very difficult to us but through hard work of sourcing out funds, we managed to sponsor 6 deaf students to Machakos for the first time, then you took over in the year of 1999 to date. With you first paying the 3rd batch that went to Kamagambo Teachers College a private institution for teachers, when the Ministry of education cant allow those with D+ pass to join teaching profession, until we advocated for lower grade for deaf to join teaching profession which is now C- and above.

This has been an uphill task for KNAD before Global Deaf Connection came into the field. However better we tried to open up avenues for the Deaf to become teachers. We are saddened to read in your website and Newsletters that Global Deaf Connection was the first in the fight for placement of Deaf teachers into Teaching Profession. This is blackmailing our efforts for good gains where you have not sowed at first. KNAD sowed and Global Deaf Connection watered the seeds to sprout. This is how we appreciate it.


To begin with I must explain the history of your being connected with the service to the Deaf Community in
Kenya. Way back in 1997 Mr. Kevin Long approached me in my office in KNAD after his contract of service in Kenya has come to an end. He was very desperate and looking uncouth because he knew he is leaving and chances of life in USA is very slim to him. Kenya being a country where he enjoyed all the freedom and enjoyment of life at his will touched his heart and he was looking for ways and means to come back to start a project to assist the desperate Deaf Kenyans whose culture he has cherished when he was teaching at Nyagweso school for Deaf in Nyanza province.

He approached me with an idea of opening a hotel in any part of
Kenya where he can start hotel business to give employment opportunities to Deaf Kenyans. After a lengthily discussion with him I advised him that many Deaf Kenyans are not highly educated and his business may end up in the hands of hearing persons with deaf people as cleaners and kitchen hands. He agreed with my advice. I advised him that inorder to be successful first of all the deaf Kenyans must get higher education which can stand them in good stead in future. Hence I put into his mind the idea of raising funds in the USA for deaf education in Kenya because many deaf Kenyans can’t get funds to further their education. On that day the idea of KENYA FOUNDATION FOR DEAF EDUCATION was born. Kevin requested me for an official letter from KNAD introducing him as a fundraiser in USA to support needy students who are unable to pay fees. I wrote a nice introduction letter which he took with him when his contract in Kenya is offer. Back in USA we continued to communicate. Kevin informed me that the mission is successful but need visiting cards introducing him as fundraiser for KNAD in USA I made two rims for him which he took with him with a big smile not knowing that the person whom I was helping will be our ripper in future.

When Kevin settled in
USA with all the necessary documents provided by KNAD he registered in USA, KENYA FOUNDATION FOR DEAF EDUCATION which he informed me was in his home state. He then informed me that fund raising is very good but he has not stand stiff and convinced me to wait until he has strengthened it. I waited till 2001 to my amazement he changed the name to EAST AFRICAN DEAF CONNECTION due to lust for more money and a big empire. At this time I was not serving KNAD and he joined those who kicked me out of KNAD which he later come to abandon for reasons not known to me. But by this time he started to sponsor a few deaf students undertaking teaching course at Kamagambo Teachers College. His lust for more money and a greater empire did not abandon him a few years later he changed EAST AFRICAN DEAF CONNECTION to GLOBAL DEAF CONNECTION to smile on top of the world.

We Deaf Kenyans appreciate what Global Deaf Connection is doing but infact it is in the country without approval from the registrar of societies or NGO registration council recognition as a legitimate organization authorized to do business in
Kenya. However through its partners such as Kenya National Association of the Deaf Kenya Society for Deaf Children and others it is floating because Kenya do not have strong laws to scrutinize illegal NGO’s operating in the country.

Worse to it, its appointed director Mr. Joel Runnels do not have an office where to operate the activities of Global Deaf Connection. Neither a steering committee is in place since its operations in
Kenya. This is a breach of protocol and I do not know that Mr Joel has a working permit in Kenya or a visitors visa.

We deaf Kenyans in KNAD are weak financially but active in the advocacy for the promotion of the rights of the deaf that is why our neighbouring countries gained experience from us. In addition we have deaf teachers teaching in schools for the deaf and we have good networking with partners but others seem to exploit us due to the fact that we do not have resources at disposal to fight the vice. This is our enemy number one. I therefore appeal to those who came through us to recognize us with due respect instead of ripping from us and join other partners labeling us as dormant.

Global Deaf Connection has been flopping from one disability organizations to another as counterparts, first with KNAD, then
Kenya programmes for Disabled persons and lastly we hear it is now with Kenya Society for the Deaf Children. I am asking you as the person who introduced the initiative. Are you serious in establishing Global Deaf Connection in Kenya or doing Scottish dance in our eyes?
I am not critical to you but want an organization which was my pipe dream well established in Kenya. Although personally I have never tasted a penny in appreciation for my work but am proud to see the education for my deaf brothers and sisters taken into consideration. Otherwise there comes a time when I will be awarded for the course.

Wishing Global Deaf Connection the best.

Peter W. Opany
Executive Director