Chiku's Story

I didn't think I could do anything because of my disability and this is what I thought until 2008. Now that I have a job at Neema Crafts, I know I have ability. I am able to communicate with the deaf people in the cafe and I can speak English with the customers that come to the restaurant. I was shy at first but now I have confidence in the skills I have learnt. I had got to Form 4 in Secondary School but when I got my O-Level results my heart sank because I had failed. I didn't know why I had failed, as I had passed all the other years really well. After receiving my results, I had no confidence and I didn't think I could do anything.

I was born disabled at birth, which meant I couldn’t walk until I was 4 years old. My parents had taken me to the hospital to see if there was anything that could be done, but there wasn't. They encouraged me in everything and had always paid my school fees, so to fail in Form 4 was hard. From 2002 until 2008 I travelled seeing different family members but I didn't have the confidence to look for work. I was scared and unsure. It was only when I arrived in Iringa to see my sister that I heard about Neema Crafts. I took a tour around the workshop and café, and it was only then I realised that I had ability too. I applied for a job in 2008 and after my interview I received a position in the shop and cafe. I loved learning sign language and really enjoy working alongside the deaf people. I can now translate for visitors who come to the centre, but the best thing about working here is the community that there is upstairs in the restaurant. We all work as a team and support each other.

Money has given me independence, I don't have to rely on my family members any more. I can be generous when family or friends visit, and don't have to ask to borrow money any longer. I’m not sure what I would like to do in the future, maybe I would like to open my own stationers shop, but I know that I have learnt many things at Neema and I have loved my time here because I am with my friends, so I’m not planning to move on any time soon!