- Category: News and Highlights
For many years, Kenyans living with disability were discriminated against and could not access basic amenities and services. The subject of disability was shrouded in mystery and those living with disability were shunned, stigmatized and left to struggle on their own.
However, following the enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 14 of 2003 and more recently the passing of a new constitution, the situation is changing. Many Kenyans are now beginning to understand the needs of those living with various disabilities and organizations are adopting new approaches and structures to provide a level playing field.
It is in this regard that the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) staff participated in a disability mainstreaming discussion on Friday 27th March, 2015, which was facilitated by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities.
The session, which was held in the KIPPRA boardroom, began with the definition of disability and the process it takes for one to be declared a person with disability. This generated a lot of questions and debate, as some participants felt the definition was not inclusive enough and the processes needed more stringent legislation to ensure all those living with disability get their rights. It was pointed out that about two million Kenyans lived with disability.
To further understand disability, the discussion delved into approaches towards disability. They included the era of gods when those with disability were secluded and stigmatized; the charity model where those with disability were assumed to deserve pity; the medical model, which viewed those with disability as sick and requiring medical attention; the social model, which viewed the society as having barriers and limitations toward those with disability; and the human rights approach, which focused on the rights of those with disability.
Participants got to know that disability could be as a result of accidents, illness or being born with it. Types of disabilities such as physical, mental, visual impairment, hearing impairment, albinism, cerebral palsy, autism, deaf blind, epilepsy and slow learning among others, were highlighted. Participants also learnt disability etiquette, which included tips on how well to interact with persons with disability, the accepted words to use when addressing those with disability or issues related to those with disability. The session also highlighted myths about disability, including the thought that it is as a result of witchcraft and that those with disability have a sixth sense.