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Article

“When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya

1
UCL Interaction Centre & Global Disability Innovation Hub, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
2
Policy, Influencing and Research, Leonard Cheshire, London SW8 1RL, UK
3
Shujaaz Inc., Nairobi 00502, Kenya
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4272; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084272
Received: 22 March 2021 / Revised: 10 April 2021 / Accepted: 12 April 2021 / Published: 17 April 2021
Disability stigma in many low- and middle-income countries represents one of the most pervasive barriers preventing people with disabilities from accessing equal rights and opportunities, including the uptake of available assistive technology (AT). Previous studies have rarely examined how disability stigma may be shaped through factors endemic to social interactions, including how the use of assistive technology itself may precipitate or alleviate disability stigma. Through two strands of work, we address this gap. Via a series of focus groups with Kenyans without disabilities (Study 1) and secondary data analysis of consultations with Kenyans with disabilities and their allies (Study 2), we identify shared and divergent understandings of what shapes disability stigma and discrimination. Specifically, Kenyans with and without disabilities were cognizant of how religious/spiritual interpretations of disability, conceptions of impairments as “different” from the norm, and social stereotypes about (dis)ability shaped the experience of stigma and discrimination. Moreover, both groups highlighted assistive technology as an influential factor that served to identify or “mark” someone as having a disability. However, whereas participants without disabilities saw assistive technology purely as an enabler to overcome stigma, participants with disabilities also noted that, in some cases, use of assistive technologies would attract stigma from others. View Full-Text
Keywords: assistive technology; disability; Kenya; stereotypes; stigma assistive technology; disability; Kenya; stereotypes; stigma
MDPI and ACS Style

Barbareschi, G.; Carew, M.T.; Johnson, E.A.; Kopi, N.; Holloway, C. “When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4272. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084272

AMA Style

Barbareschi G, Carew MT, Johnson EA, Kopi N, Holloway C. “When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(8):4272. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084272

Chicago/Turabian Style

Barbareschi, Giulia, Mark T. Carew, Elizabeth A. Johnson, Norah Kopi, and Catherine Holloway. 2021. "“When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 8: 4272. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084272

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