World Deaf Leadership
Name: Jacob Ireri
Field of Study: International Development
My name is Jacob Ireri. I hail from Embu, the Republic of Kenya, Africa. I became deaf at age three from German Meningitis. I started my early education at a mainstreamed program in the 1990s. After that, I enrolled at a deaf school in Kenya for my elementary education. Due to my inability to hear, I experienced discrimination in the Kenyan society. Upon successful completion of my elementary education in 2001, I enrolled at a mixed high school. There, I became interested in becoming a leader. Luckily, my parents encouraged this interest.
When I finished high school, I realized that it was time to begin my dreams of becoming a leader. I successfully founded a deaf-centered local organization in Kenya whose main purpose is to promote equal human rights and to eliminate all forms of obstacles against deaf people in Kenya. My desire to discover and explore the world drove me to apply for and get accepted into Gallaudet University in 2007 to pursue a degree. Fortunately, I was awarded a prestigious scholarship by the Nippon Foundation.
My major goals are to pursue and successfully complete both BA and MA degrees with honors in International Development at Gallaudet.
My World Deaf Leadership (WDL) project is to return to my native country Kenya and invest there all that I have learned and all of the skills I have gained. I have helped deaf-centered organizations in uplifting the living standards of deaf and hard of hearing people socially, economically, linguistically, culturally, and politically. In a similar fashion, I also hope to work closely with other leaders in developing countries to build the capacity of institutions to incorporate the convention on rights of persons with disabilities into their legislation in the education, health, and employment sectors so that deaf people can equally lead a more rewarding, inspiring, comfortable, and sustainable life style.