Young African Leaders Initiative Awarded to Deaf Role Model

We are delighted to announce that Richard Mativu, Deaf Role Model and Technical Adviser for Deaf Child Worldwide, has beat off stiff competition to win the Young African Leaders Initiative Award. Richard will study civic engagement at the University of Illinois drawing on his own experiences to raise awareness and share best practice on supporting and empowering deaf communities.  


Ricahrd Mativu, deaf role modelAfter losing his hearing due to meningitis as a 20 year old University student, Richard Mativu was still determined to continue his education and graduated from University before pursuing a career as a Technical Advisor for disability issues across East Africa.

Richard has been working with Deaf Child Worldwide for three years, providing training to our projects across East Africa as well as developing a range of training materials to support communication and deaf awareness materials.

Regarded as a role model among many, this will only be boosted after beating off stiff competition to become one of this year’s representatives of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leader, the flagship programme President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Richard is one of 60 Kenyans to travel to United States this year where he will attend the University of Illinois to study civic engagement alongside 25 Sub-Saharan fellows. Throughout the six weeks, Richard will learn about a range of topics relevant to his work in East Africa including economic development, grass-roots activism, political organizing and leadership to name but a few. The learning will be supported by further, practical insight visiting a range of institutions.

At the end of the programme, a three day conference in Washington hosted by President Obama will see the 1,000 Sub-Saharan fellows come together to learn, share experiences and build networks as well as an opportunity to pose questions to the President himself.

Richard commented, “I’m delighted to have been selected for this once in a lifetime opportunity. This is a great chance to spread the word about the work Deaf Child Worldwide do across East Africa in removing barriers that prevent deaf children and young people from achieving and enabling them to reach their full potential.”

“I’m excited about how I can use this opportunity to make a difference. I’m planning to develop a training package on civic leadership and engagement to integrate to the work I already do and know this will have a positive impact on the lives of many more deaf children and young people in East Africa.”

Follow @DeafChildWW to find out more about Richard’s fellowship. 

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