By Margaret Ngendo
Cyrus Ndabiri is 64 years old, he does not have both legs and uses a wheelchair to walk. Currently, there is no one to help him to go out from the house and fend for himself.
Cyrus was born and raised in Vihiga county in western Kenya in a family of five children. Today, he lives in Kibera’s Silanga area. Since his parents could not afford to educate their children, Cyrus studied upto class eight. But this did not deter him from achieving his dream.
Cyrus started making beaded bangles in 2018 when he became disabled after getting an accident. According to him, the accident did not discourage him but in it he saw an opportunity to do something he had always wanted to-make beads and other ornaments. “I also needed something that could bring me income in my condition,” he says.
On a average, he earns Sh4,000 from this venture. “But for me, it’s not about how much money I make. I want to make a difference in my community. That is why I chose to transfer the bead making skills to children in my area.”
He says: “I started with my neighbour’s children, teaching them how to make bangles. They then spread the news to other children from Silanga area. I immediately saw an opportunity to transfer knowledge to these children.
At any given time, Cyrus has a group of about 10 children learning beading. He does not charge them for the training sessions.
Despite living with disability, Cyrus views himself as a changemaker, responsible for changing lives in his community. “Impact is not about what you own. It is about the lives you change in your own small way. And that is what I do every day,” he explains.
Cyrus is a member of a local Catholic church that supports him by visiting and giving him raw materials. The sisters from Catholic church always visit him at every month and support him with the materials.
His vision is to eatablish his own company of making bangles and helping young people realize their dreams through arts. “to capture their talent and utilize them well. He also says that he want to show people with disability that they can be highly respected in the society through showing them that they can work even though they are disabled and it’s not their fault to be like that. “I also want to show our society that people with disabilities can transform their communities and even pass knowledge to others.”