The Kenyan president Tuesday, on the occasion of the annual Mashujaa Day to commemorate the country’s independence heroes, honored young innovators in the front line fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

“I cannot conclude this address without honouring our COVID-19 heroes. In particular, I want to give [a] special mention to our departed health workers [who died of COVID-19]… their memory will forever be engraved in our hearts,” Uhuru Kenyatta told a ceremony in Kisi, a major urban center in southwestern Kenya.

“And like our founding fathers, they teach us that heroes are ordinary people who are made extraordinary by unusual circumstances.”

He said that since Kenya’s ancestors dared to do the impossible, they can be likened to young innovators who have come up with solutions to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The East African country gained independence from British colonialists in 1963.

The COVID-19 crisis has driven Kenyan innovation. With medical companies struggling to meet huge demand, university students came up with cheap ventilators to meet the gap.

Those working in the informal sector are also making hospital beds, and have received state tenders amid a dearth of berths.

The president also mentioned Roy Allela, a 25-year-old engineer who had a strong urge to communicate with his 6-year-old deaf niece.

He developed a pair of smart gloves with flex sensors that help the deaf communicate and vocalize messages to a mobile phone through Bluetooth. The gloves can be customized to any client’s specifications, and are claimed to have 93% accuracy.

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