Dawn Karungari Gikandi, a 31-year-old Kenyan, has been ordained as a minister by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), a member church of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Gikandi is among only a few people who are both women theologians and persons with physical disability who serve the church as an ordained pastor.

Gikandi was born with physical challenges due to an accident suffered by her mother. Coping with this physical disability, she walks mostly with the support of a back-brace and a walking stick.

“I have many hopes and aspirations,” said Gikandi, following her Palm Sunday ordination April 13 by the PCEA Thiririka Presbytery in Juja parish.

“I hope to reach out to even more people, explain matters of faith, encourage all and improve conditions. This I can do by setting an example, through my life, by setting worthwhile goals and striving to achieve them,” Gikandi said.

“I want to tell people’s stories of hope.”

“I realize that everyone has a story, and some are really incredible as a result of things that one has experienced, overcome and achieved. I firmly believe that everyone has something to offer humanity, something unique and beautiful — no matter how seemingly minor,” she added.

Gikandi was a steward at the WCC 9th Assembly in Brazil, 2006, and participant at the World YWCA Young Women's Summit in Ethiopia, in January 2013.

Gikandi has worked as a volunteer with her home church and community to highlight issues of faith, poverty, HIV and AIDS and concerns especially related to youth. She has served as chairperson of the youth fellowship of the PCEA congregation in Membley and parishes in Ruiru and Kamiti.