Life is a runway and as a person with disability, I am walking it and changing lives. John Orimbo.

John Michael Orimbo, aka Johny Drummer was born and bred in Naivasha, Kenya. In his early childhood, he was subjected to an experimentation polio (injection) vaccine. The vaccination led to osteogenesis, brittle bones and later led to disability when he was 10.

My teachers used to cane me if I did not score high marks. I was always number two in class throughout primary school.

John joined the University of Nairobi to pursue his Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) at the College of education and external studies, Kikuyu campus.

In his first year, he campaigned for congress and won. Under his leadership, he managed to implement high speed Wi-Fi, establish a good information center, improved sanitation and environmental campaigns, ensured modern equipment for entertainment were provided and established a VCT in the health center.

He won different tournaments as a youth advisory delegate for children and youth under the UNEP environmental program. He was a member of over six clubs in campus and was re-elected as mayor-top congress in his final year.

After campus, Johnny volunteered at the UN Major Group for Children and Youth. Here, he was able to connect and work with the disabled on disaster risk.

His interest in persons with disabilities grew as he pursued advocacy, equal opportunities, inclusiveness and decision making.

I still serve here on voluntary basis as a Disaster Risk Regional Focal Point for Eastern and Southern Africa. I love the experience because it has opened my eyes to the lack of information on disaster risk for persons with disabilities which I want to change.

I also participated in the The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in Japan in 2015. My purpose and full concentration is on persons with disabilities because I am one myself and I know the challenges.

2016 was a great year as he was selected to join the YALI E.A regional center. He worked with the YALI team by proposing on various ways persons living with disability can be reached so that they have an equal chance of applying for the program.

John organized for a community outreach to Malezi Community Center while at the center and was able to raise money and supplies for the 30 children living at the home.

The young leader recently participated in UNEA 2 conference where he concentrated on advocacy work for persons with disabilities and when he got a chance to speak to the executive director, Mr. Achim Steiner, he pitched an idea on inclusiveness, accessibility and participation of PWDs which was endorsed and is currently in the making.

He strongly lobbied with member states representatives, major groups and stakeholders where his interventions overwhelmingly received strong endorsements.

The Major groups and stakeholders adopted his prominent interventions in to MGS Final statement that was passed in one of the 25 resolutions adopted in the final plenary of the UNEA 2 forum.

John was also a participant in the High level political forum for sustainable development in July 2016 in New York as an ambassador for change with the agenda of making sound interventions in plight of the children and youth persons with disabilities future inclusiveness and participation in the Global Sustainable Goals Initiatives.

I always encourage the youth to stretch themselves. Try out different things. If you believe in yourself hard enough, others will have no option other than believe in you.

I remember volunteering in one of the remotest parts of Pokot. The place was super-hot. We had to walk kilometers upon kilometers to fetch water. I climbed one of the most feared slippery hill in Pokot that has even strong Pokot men refuse to climb. It’s called the death mountain.

In the next 10 years, Johnny plans to run an innovative hub for persons with disabilities; He is currently working on a mapping program for East and Central Africa. Music being his second name, he is also working on exploring it further and expanding his music.

He enjoys in his free time serving in church as a drummer which he confesses makes him irrationally happy.

Keep soaring and changing lives John.

There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability. Sharron Angle.

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