For the longest time, multitudes believed that there are milestones Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) cannot reach. This was because PWDs were considered too challenged to break some barriers, especially careerwise.
A deaf person could never dream of being a journalist or a politician, a physically challenged person could never dream of being a disk jockey, a visually impaired person could never dream of venturing into acting among many more. However, all this has changed over time as Persons with Disabilities are now woke and are working towards achieving their dreams as they equally compete in the professional and creative fields.
This is a story of a 26-year-old deaf lady who dared to dream and is now breaking barriers. A journalist, make-up enthusiast, model and born artist, meet Edna Kaindi.
Edna Kaindi was not born deaf; she suffered an illness at an early age leading to her hearing loss.
Growing up, she was often isolated even as she struggled to communicate with the people around her. She learned sign language and tirelessly worked to perfect her communication and refused to let her disability define her. Confused, sad and broken, she had to learn to live in her new quiet world and make the best out of it. Edna eventually accepted her situation and strived to succeed in school to make her dreams of becoming an air hostess come true. Not even the bullying, stigma, and loneliness at an early age could stop her from achieving her dreams. She had a goal, to which she was determined to make a reality.
Despite yearning to be an air hostess, life had other plans for Miss Kaindi. After high school, a close friend encouraged her to take up a modelling career, something she was skeptical about but did anyway. In 2018, she competed for Mr. and Miss Disability Kenya and become among the top ten winners.
Edna took a step back at modelling and took up a make-up and fashion course at Hailey’s Beauty College. This is where her journey in the world of beauty and fashion commenced.
Also Read: Learning Disabilities: Dyslexia
Despite doing well in school, getting employment was another tough nut along her path as most employers are usually hesitant about employing persons with disabilities, especially the deaf due to communication barriers. However, Edna Kaindi did not give up and kept applying for jobs. Her persistence and high spirit are what landed her a job at Signs TV, which is a media company whose objectives are enhancing Disability and the Deaf Culture. That has been her home since 2019.
TKT: Do you accept make-up jobs/clients?
Miss Kaindi: I used to actively get clients for make-up, but I stopped after I started my full-time job as a journalist. I barely have time to do make up except for myself and sometimes for my friends. I love make-up and anything that has to do with beauty and fashion.
TKT: Do you still model?
Miss Kaindi: No. Nowadays I only dress up and go for photoshoot exclusively for my social media pages.
TKT: What do you love most about being a journalist?
Miss Kaindi: First, I love working with sign language interpreters because they understand me well. Secondly, I feel good putting myself out there knowing that I may be inspiring other kids who are deaf and want to be like me and even more. Seeing me on TV makes them know they can do it just as I am doing it. So, it is fulfilling.
TKT: How did you end up at Signs Television?
Miss Kaindi: I started doing advertisements for them in 2019, but that was on and off. They came to hire me on a full-time basis in 2020 and added me other responsibilities like news anchoring and hosting shows. I have been there ever since.
TKT: Who are your biggest supporters?
Miss Kaindi: My family. My Mom and brother have always ensured I get the best and encourage me to keep soaring high. My bosses have also played a huge part especially by believing that I could stand before the camera and deliver. I host a show called Glamour and I get to meet different people in the fashion industry, something I am enthusiastic about.
TKT: Do you still think about becoming an air hostess?
Miss Kaindi: Yes, that has always been my dream and I still want to be an air hostess.
TKT: What motivates you and what advice would you give to your younger self looking back?
Miss Kaindi: My motivation is to work hard and become an air hostess. To my younger self, challenges are many before you, be patient, respect your parents and trust in God to be successful. Also teach your parents sign language to make communication easier.
TKT: Message to children with disabilities.
Miss Kaindi: Follow your passion and respect each other. Never give up because the world offers many opportunities for all of us. Know that the world is becoming a better place and kinder to people with disabilities so keep the hope and fire burning.
Edna Kaindi is a young woman with many talents, aside from her career as a journalist and being a beauty enthusiast, she doubles up as an artist. She didn’t go to any school for that. She says it’s inborn and with practice and consistency, her drawing skills have become great over time.
The world has come to accept that people with disabilities are just as good at their jobs as those who are not disabled. Society has become more accepting and inclusive to this minority group. Employers no longer see the disability, but the skill set these individuals possess.
Also Read: Inclusive Education and Employment for PWDs
Talk of Hon. Ashura Michael, a deaf lady who has been defying all odds. She was in 2020 elected speaker of the East African Youth Assembly, she also vied for the Nairobi County Senatorial Seat in the 2022 general elections. We also have DJ Euphoric a physically challenged man who served as state house deejay during retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure. We have Mueni who is a short stature making it in the film industry as an actress. These are just the few examples you do not hear often in mainstream media.
Nonetheless, Edna Kaindi’s story is just one of the many untold stories of PWDs breaking barriers. She is not only an inspiration to people with disabilities but to everyone who knows her. She is a true depiction of strength and perseverance.
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