Staff Profile: Winnie Wambura, the Librarian charting her way despite all odds

By Beryl Kamusinga

Getting favorable employment in Kenya can be a headache, especially in the field you want. According to an online poll, only 33% of disabled people are employed. This can be attributed to the fact that many employers have a bias against people with disabilities. This could be because of systemic beliefs that people with disabilities aren't effective workers or the employers don’t have and are unwilling to create an environment suitable for people with disabilities.

Fortunately, institutions like USIU-Africa do not have such misgivings, and employment is solely based on merit. USIU-Africa has for years had a reputation of being inclusive, to both students and staff. One of the benefits of working at USIU-Africa is its toxic-free working environment, and understanding and patient supervisors.

This is according to one of USIU-Africa employees Winnie Wambura, an employee of the institution who has a physical disability as a result of an accident when she was two years that crushed the bones in her leg.

“When I had the accident, I was rushed to Ombo Hospital, where the doctors recommended the amputation of my leg. However, I was taken to Mater Hospital, where a metal plate was inserted in my leg, which allowed me to walk, and rejoin the bones together. She had her last operation in 1999 to remove the metal plate since the bones had connected “she said.

Winnie studied Information Science at Kenya Methodist University and has been working for the institution in the Library department for the past four years. She had previously worked as an intern for six months before being formally employed.

Winnie asserted that USIU-Africa had been her dream institution to work at ever since her brothers enrolled as students. She constantly applied from her first year to get an internship for her first year of university before finally succeeding.

She applauded the institution for giving her a job based solely on her passion rather than her disability. She added that learning continued for her at USIU-Africa as she is able to practically apply what she learned at University.

She credits USIU-Africa for being a good employer, particularly for being diverse. “It is a very conducive environment to work in”, she says, further noting that she enjoys working at the institution because there is no micromanagement.
“Disability doesn’t define or reflect a person's capabilities. It’s time society stopped thinking of disability in terms of what someone can’t offer. We should start looking at disabled people in terms of what they can offer despite their challenges,” she notes.

Winnie plans to further her studies abroad by going to study for her Masters in Information Science, currently not offered at USIU-Africa.

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