This argument aims to show how the social inclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) could help boost their economic productivity. The institutional and cultural norms facilitating their integration could be the key to breaking the vicious circle that represents disability, poverty, and exclusion (DFID,2000,p.4).
To what extent does poverty contribute to social exclusion, and how does belonging to or being identified with stigmatized or excluded groups contribute to and reinforce socioeconomic disadvantage? To what extent social inclusion policies of PWDs could impact their economic productivity? What is the role of beliefs in the entrenchment of poverty among PWDs?
Most disabled persons are extremely poor (DFID, 2000) and cannot afford basics needs (Yeo, 2005). Moreover, as stated by a lecturer at a University in Kampala in October 2015, they are isolated by families who see it as a waste to invest in them because there is no hope they will produce back to the family.
According to the situational analysis on the rights of children with disabilities in Uganda (UNICEF, 2014), a great number of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are fighting for the rights of PWDs in Uganda. Among them is the National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDIPU), National Council on Disability ( NCD), and the National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU).
The Arts and Disability Exhibition hosted by Uzuri Crafts and DESIGN on the 23rd July 2016 at the Uganda Germany Cultural Society’s venue demonstrated the power of inclusive policies.
Numerous arts products for sale showed the economic potential of PWD, but the absence of NGOs for Children with Disabilities (aged between 0-18 years) question the inclusive policies’ strategies to prepare them for a productive life.
From April 2015 to October 2016, I conducted interviews in the city of Kampala and their analysis revealed that many stereotypes and stigma exist on the physical and psychological limitations of PWDs; as asked in July 2015 by the program manager at NCD: “What can we do to change the negative perception on PWDs?”
The need of awareness to change the negative views (Sam & Moreira, 2012) about PWDs is a real challenge and numbers of them could be frustrated by the feeling of inferiority that brings them feel sidelined from the whole and with few opportunities to fulfill their economic development projects.
Hervé-Boris NGATE, Cross-Cultural Psychologist/Communications
Department For International Development (DFID) 2000, Disability, Poverty and Development, Harvard Law School, Viewed 10 August 2016, hpod.org/pdf/Disability-poverty-and-development.pdf
Yeo, R September 2005, Disability, poverty and the new development agenda, Disability Knowledge and Research Programme, Viewed 4 August 2016, http://hpod.org/pdf/Developmentagenda.pdf
Sam, D, L, & Moreira, V 2012, Revisiting the Mutual Embeddedness of Culture and Mental
Illness, Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 10(2), Viewed 4 August 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1078
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) May 2014, Research Study on Children with Disabilities Living in Uganda, Situational Analysis on the Rights of Children with Disabilities in Uganda, Viewed 10 August 2016 http://www.unicef.org/uganda/UNICEF_CwD_situational_analysis_FINAL.pdf