For our #BellaNaijaMCM feature this week, we celebrate Kingdom Nwanyanwu, the founder and Executive Director of Dehat Ability Support Initiative, also known as ‘D-Ability Initiative’, a nonprofit that offers peer-education training, mentoring and advocacy as well as promotes the rights and welfare of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Nigeria.
Millions of Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in Nigeria live in abject poverty as a result of unprecedented unemployment rate, inadequate education, lack of skills, unjustified exclusion, stigmatisation and other setbacks. D-Ability Initiative is working towards enhancing their potentials, promoting inclusivity, and removing the barriers stopping them from living their best lives.
The organisation teaches the beneficiaries American Sign Language (ASL) and supports them through skills acquisition and empowerment programs.
Kingdom’s experience with American Sign Language (ASL) began nearly 2 decades ago, when he took an ASL class offered at his church. His advocacy and appreciation of ASL eventually led him to become an instructor.
D-Ability Initiative started as a small Community-Based Organization, operating at the grassroots in Rivers state, South South, Nigeria, supporting the Deaf and Hard of Hearing by mediating between them and their Hearing family members. In 2017, Kingdom registered the organisation as a nonprofit and has since then been raising awareness on deaf and hard of hearing persons.
Kingdom holds a bachelors degree in Accounting from the University of Port Harcourt and a masters degree in the same discipline from Rivers State University. He is a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow and a 2019 participant of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program.
He undertook international leadership courses and roundtable meetings at various institutions including: Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., a renowned University for the Deaf; Wagner College in New York; Irondale Theatre in Brooklyn, New York; Howard University in Washington D.C; United Nations Headquarters in New York; Generation Citizen in Manhattan; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Lifestyle for the Disabled in New York; African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg; among others.
Prior to the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he undertook an Immersion Course in American Sign Language (ASL) at Gallaudet University. He later returned to Gallaudet University for his Professional Development Experience (PDE). While at Gallaudet, he learned Deaf Culture and had firsthand experience in deaf education, administration, and best practices.
We celebrating Kingdom for devoting his life to serving the deaf and hard of hearing community in Nigeria and for the progress he’s made so far. We’re rooting for him!