A Conversation on Inclusion with USIU

Disability Inclusion trainings are short conventions that are arranged to start a dialogue on including people with disabilities in different mainstream activities in institutions. The rationale behind these trainings is to demystify the concept of disability and promote interactions between people with disabilities and institutions.

Bright and early on a Friday, we witnessed a congregation of people from different institutions, all focused on one objective – building a society where people with disabilities are included. Light for the World partnered with United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) to conduct this training under the InBusiness Initiative. Distinguished scholars – Dr. Samuel Kabue and Dr. Reginal Oduor lead the congregation.

The training started with the history and evolution of disability rights in Kenya with a special focus on legal and policy framework by Dr. Kabue. Explaining the different approaches to viewing disability, Dr. Kabue explained how people with disability do not look for pity or charity, but they strive for equal rights as those without disabilities. The discussion continued to the legal and policy framework, where current provisions for people with disabilities were discussed. Answering a question from the participants, Dr. Kabue opined that much effort needs to be directed towards educating children with special needs so that the foundation is set right and economic empowerment of people with disabilities could be achieved.

Dr. Reginald Oduor lead the training for the rest of the day by being his zesty, humorous and charming self. Dr. Oduor facilitated learning for participants in within topics like inclusive society, etiquette when interacting with people with disabilities and research studies in terms of people with disabilities. With a combination of anecdotes, stories and humour, Dr. Oduor emphasised on how disability is only a consequence of context. Time and again it was established that it the environment that makes a person disabled, but not the disability itself. So, if we aim to build an inclusive society where people with disabilities are given equal rights, we make facilities available in an accessible way for all people, which includes arranging for ramps alongside stairs, arranging for wide enough door space to facilitate a person using wheel chair, etc, which enable a person with disabilities and not disable them.

At the beginning of the session the participants admitted that they have are not very confident in engaging with people with disabilities as they are not aware of the right etiquette while interacting with them. With the fear of offending a person with disability, they found themselves withdrawn. This was addressed by Dr. Oduor in the disability etiquette session, where the general and specific (people with hearing, visual and physical impairment) best practices while interacting with people with disabilities were discussed. This was followed by a short discussion on researching disability issues.

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