The reality of being disabled in Africa
Living with a disability is hard anywhere in the world, but it is worse in Africa. The continent is regarded as one of the poorest with half of its population living below the poverty line. Therefore, if life is difficult for those without any disability, one can only imagine how the disabled survive in Africa. A significant number of African children do not go to school for various reasons. Similarly, disabled children are not taken to school.
Education is an important tool for self-development. The failure to take disabled children to school limits their chances of developing their lives. They grow into adulthood with no basic education, and therefore they cannot contribute or participate in community development. They cannot get employment because they are illiterate. Since the disabled do not participate in community activities, they are excluded and treated as outcasts in their own community.
Another challenge facing the disabled people in Africa is stigmatization. The disabled are treated as outcasts as the community do not associate with them. There are also some myths and misconceptions about disability which make the other community members look down upon the disabled. They never want to associate with them or live with them. The situation gets worse when the family members of the disabled people are also stigmatized and excluded from community activities.
The disabled are seen as people who are incapable of doing anything. In the community, they face rejection because no one believes in their abilities. Disabled children are also victims of rejection at school, and they are discriminated against by other children. Therefore, families are forced to keep disabled children at home to avoid embarrassment and rejection. Some hide them in locked rooms so that visitors would not know that there is a disabled person in that home.
It is a sad situation to see disabled children being denied the opportunity to develop their lives and careers. They are kept at home and neglected because they are seen as outcasts. The situation gets worse when they are physically abused at home because they have no one to turn to. Besides, they have no physical ability to defend themselves or run away from home. They are left in a hopeless and helpless situation which is sad.
Most disabled people cannot afford to purchase wheelchairs to aid their movement. They are therefore forced to stay at home. Similarly, those with wheelchairs face difficulties when boarding public means of transport. They feel embarrassed when going to school or work because they have to be helped all the time. There are no special facilities at school or workplaces to make the life of disabled people easier.
Most disabled people in Africa live a miserable life full of stigmatization, abuse, neglect, and exclusion. This is a sad situation because they disabled do not deserve such treatment considering that they did not choose to be disabled. They do not have an equal chance and opportunities for self-development or participation in community development. The trend needs to be reversed because the disabled need to be treated with love and compassion just because they are humans. The value of humanity should be accorded to every human, regardless of their disabilities.