NATIONAL POPULATION CENSUS 2019

Deaf, pastoralists risk missing census

A deaf person overlooked in Kilifi county felt 'demeaned and unappreciated as a Kenyan'

In Summary

• On Saturday, Mildred Indikalla a deaf lady waited for the census staff but they did not show up.

• On Sunday, her neighbours told her the enumerators on Saturday knocked her door several times and left when she did not open.

Mildred Indakalla, a deaf person, communicates with her interpreter during the ongoing census after she missed out on Saturday.
Mildred Indakalla, a deaf person, communicates with her interpreter during the ongoing census after she missed out on Saturday.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

When 6pm struck last Saturday, Mildred Indikalla closed her salon business in Malindi town and rushed home to be enumerated. 

Indikalla, 33, is deaf. She sat by her door for four hours, anticipating to see light penetrating the bottom of her door, an indication that the census guys had arrived.

Unfortunately, she never saw a sign and decided to sleep and wait for them on Sunday.

 
 
 
 
 

On Sunday, her neighbours told her the enumerators on Saturday knocked her door several times and left when she did not open.

Well, how could she hear? She lives alone. She felt demeaned and unappreciated as a Kenyan.

When 6pm struck last Saturday, Mildred Indikalla closed her salon business in Malindi town and rushed home to be enumerated. See story https://bit.ly/2PlY6Ng

After learning of her story, I got an interpreter, Willy Mwangi, and made my way to Indikalla's home accompanied by an enumerator.

"It is so unfortunate that census staff would skip me. I am a Kenyan and I have a right to be counted," she gestured to the interpreter.

"In the morning, neighbours told me I had missed out being counted because I did not open the door for the census people."

 

She said even if they had met her that night, there would have been a communication barrier as they were not accompanied by sign interpreters.

Her neighbour Janet Nzaro appealed to the government to provide interpreters during the census for the deaf people.

 
 
 
 

"Even at night if you knock their doors they cannot hear," she said.

An interpreter communicates with Mildred Indakalla, a deaf person, during the ongoing census after she missed out on Saturday.
An interpreter communicates with Mildred Indakalla, a deaf person, during the ongoing census after she missed out on Saturday.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Mwangi says over 1,000 deaf people in Kilifi may miss out on being counted if the state does not deal with the problem of lack of interpreters.

"We have institutions that understand the importance of this," Mwangi, also a civic educator with Uraia, said. "The deaf people applied for jobs of enumerators but were not given a chance."

Meanwhile, in Tana River county, a group of herders who have migrated to the Tana delta refused to be counted on grounds that they were not in their homes.

Devolution CAS Hussein Dado said the pastoralists must be counted, adding that he would go to all the manyattas with enumerators to ensure they are counted.

Speaking after being counted on Saturday night, he said as a pastoralist, he brought almost all his family members, including one who is studying in the US, to the village to be counted.

Dado wanted to set an example to fellow community members to follow suit.

Edited by T Jalio