Should governments offer cash award for marriage by persons with a disability to a person yet to be disabled? Author Mugambi Paul.

Some nations in Asia and some African countries have started to embrace support by governments to offer cash awards for marriages by persons with disabilities and persons yet to be disabled.
Moreover, in some countries it has been a practice done through religion.
Some say it is enhancing inclusion while others say it’s an exclusion of an already marginalized persons with disabilities by interfering with the individual choices and autonomy.
In other words, religion has been crucial in promoting marriages among persons with disabilities to persons who are yet to be disabled. In some cultures, this seemed to be practiced in order to secure the unmarried individuals with disabilties although this was not correctly celebrated like other marriages.

It seems now some government want to emulate this practice.
IA’s disability sage maker there are pertinent questions we need to discuss and through the YouTube channel you shall get to learn allot.
For example,

give cash award of `2.5 lakh to a persons yet to be disabled for marrying a Person
with Disability (PwD). BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to promote social harmony, Odisha Government
has decided to give cash award of 2.5 lakh to persons yet to be disabled for
marrying a Person with Disability (PwD). The Social Security and
Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) department has
floated a new scheme that promises an incentive of Rs 2.5 lakh to be
provided for the wedding between a person who is yet to b e disabled irrespective of
category of disability and a PwD so as to mainstream the latter in the
While the ST/SC Development department has already announced the cash incentive of `2.5 lakh for marriage between SC/ST and other caste, earlier the government was paying `50,000 for the marriage between PwDs. “The enhanced incentive will enable the couple to lead a normal and dignified life and also encourage people to marry a PwD,” said an official of SSPED.
As decided, the financial incentive will be given to the newlywed couple after proper scrutiny. To avail the reward, the bridegroom and bride must have completed 21 and 18 years of age respectively at the time of marriage and either of spouses must have not availed the incentive award under the scheme earlier. The marriage must have been dowry free.
The couple has to apply for it along with their marriage registration certificate. The incentive amount will remain fixed in the joint account of the couple and they can withdraw under joint signature after three years.

Sighted persons ask: What is braille? Author Mugambi Paul

Fortunately, being blind myself and with my lived social interactions with different individuals and levels.
Many have asked me severally how does a blind person communicate, access or deliver information.
When I tell them that I am grateful for our hero and father Mr. Louis they are surprised.
They don’t know if it wasn’t for him, I would be hidden somewhere in a cage or even a beggar in one of the markets in my country of origin.
As a global citizen I pay tribute to Mr. Louis who ensured that those who have seeing difficulties can be able to participate in the competitive world in all spheres of life.
Braille is a system used by people who are visually impaired to write and read. The Braille system was invented by Louis Braille, who was blind at early ages but good at learning. In 1825, inspired by a military code used by soldiers to communicate at night without lights, he invented the nonlinear writing system. In Braille’s system, each letter consists of six dot positions arranged in two columns with three dots each. Different letters are represented by the numbers and positions of raised dots. It should be noted that the first ten letters of the alphabet in Braille system also represent 10 digits, namely, 1 to nine and 0. So how do you differentiate a digit or a letter in text? Well, there is a special symbol called “Number Follows”, which always precedes a symbol that indicating a digit. These is also another symbol called “Capital Letter” that functions similarly, indicating the following letter is in capital. Lets meeti in the disability Sausage YouTube channel for much more.
The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”

Why the down under Aare already in the new year 2021? Author MUGAMBI Paul

Why the down under Aare already in the new year 2021?
Author MUGAMBI Paul
Hi consumers of my platform and those who enjoy he disability sausage:
I want to wish you a happy New Year!
May 2021 be filled with lots of love, health, happiness, and achieved goals.
I truly wish that for you, readers and listeners.
But remember…
This won’t just randomly happen.
You need to plan for it, put in the effort, and keep working on yourself.
No one is going to hand success to you in 2021. It’s all you.
You have to be proactive about it.
One thing I always do at the end of the year to ensure I’m proactive about my goals, growth, and performance, is to take some time for planning & reflection.
First, I look back on the year to see what lessons I’ve learned, what I've done right, and where I can improve for the next year.
Here are a few questions I’ve asked myself in the past few days:
• What did I learn this year? How did this year make me stronger and better?
• What 3-5 tasks and projects gave me the best business/financial results?
• What were my main sources of negativity and unhappiness?
• What were my main sources of positivity and happiness?
These questions help me shine a light on what I should do more and less of in the next year.
This helps to avoid the same energy-drainers year after year, while it also helps to stay focused on the things that significantly add to my health, happiness, and business success.
Then, I take the time to think about the next year. I mean, how can you expect to have your most successful year if you don’t plan for it?
Therefore, I ask myself the following questions:
• What will my main intention be for this year?
• If I could only achieve one goal this year, what would it be?
• Which tasks, projects, and activities should I focus more on for optimal health, wealth, and business success?
• How can I make sure all of the above will actually be done and doesn't just stay a wish? (for example, already plan certain tasks & activities in your schedule, reach out to an accountability partner, already commit to things by paying for it, signing up, making appointments, etc.)
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself these past days, and I highly encourage you to do something similar!
Remember, 2021 won’t magically become your most successful year.
You have to plan for it, put in the effort, and keep working on yourself.
You got this.
To Your Most Successful Year,

I believe in diversity and inclusion.

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”

Why Kenya doesn’t deserve another Mathare Mental hospital! Author: Paul Mugambi

In 2017, the CRPD Committee adopted general comment No. 5 on Article 19 on living independently and being included in the community, which clearly stated the obligation of States Parties to adopt a plan for deinstitutionalization, including the closure of current institutions and not to build new ones. Yet, without quality community services and support for parents, institutions are seen to provide better care than children with disabilities would receive at home.
By drawing on the experiences of parents, advocates, NGOs, and public officials, this is due to the November pronouncement by Kenya that it has budgeted for a new modern mental health institution instead of strengthening families. In the latest Kenyan escapades, the duty bearers are ensuring that persons with psycosocial disabilities do not access community empowerment activities by pushing the agenda of institutionalization!
Is this what organizations of persons with disabilities in Kenya want?
Are these the thoughts of care giver of persons with intellectual and psycosocial disabilities?
Has the current Mathare hospital served its purpose and now we want a modern and larger institution?
It’s not just enough to take back the gains of the individuals, advocates and care givers of persons with disabilities.!
Let’s meet on disability sausage YouTube channel as we up pack why community related solutions are more beneficial than the idea of institutionalization of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
They are individuals with rights and deserve the best.
Defending the rights of the already marginalized groups with a sector is not an easy ride.
We need to have a debate!

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”

Will the SDGS be relevant after the Covid pandemic?

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmingly has negatively impacted persons with disabilities in various ways. Historical inequalities have resurfaced, discrimination has increased, and the push for inclusion has become more challenging. Dialogues on leaving no one behind, reaching the furthest behind first and inclusion in the pandemic world are largely being neglected or not a priority. This poses the fundamental question for persons with disabilities: is it still important to advocate to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Moreover, will the Goals and targets be instrumental to build a better, more inclusive and equal world for all?
#Covid_19: you have transformed the globe like never before!
Will the organizations of persons with disabilities sustain the demand for implementation of global commitments by the duty bearers?

Let’s meet on disability sausage maker YouTube channel for more insights!

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”

Is Safaricom the Kenyan Giant ready for this challenge? Author: Paul M. Mugambi

WhatsApp Payments is now available with ICICI Bank, SBI, HDFC for all users in India.
The Facebook-owned messaging app has partnered with banks including State Bank of India, HDFC, ICICI and Axis Bank.
WhatsApp was granted approval by NPCI to go live in November 2020.

Days after its announcement, WhatsApp Payments is now available with ICICI Bank, SBI, HDFC for all users in India. The Facebook-owned messaging app has partnered with banks including State Bank of India, HDFC, ICICI and Axis Bank. to make the feature available for Indian users. WhatsApp was granted approval by NPCI to go live in November 2020. The payment method will let WhatsApp users transfer and receive money on the platform.

Talking about the partnership with banks, Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp, India said, “We’re excited and privileged to partner with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and AXIS Bank to bring simple and secure digital payments to WhatsApp users across India. UPI is a transformative service and we jointly have the opportunity to bring the benefits of our digital economy and financial inclusion to a large number of users who have not had full access to them before.”

Bijith Bhaskar, head, digital channels and partnership at ICICI Bank has said that over the months more than two million users have adopted banking services on WhatsApp. "Keeping the convenience in mind, we introduced banking services on WhatsApp in April. The initiative helped our customers bank conveniently and remotely without visiting the branch during the pandemic. We have seen an encouraging response from our customers. Over two million users have adopted banking services on WhatsApp in this short span. Now with WhatsApp Payments, there is a unique opportunity to scale essential financial services to people all over the country with ease," he said.

Here is how you can enable the feature on your phone

— If you have not received the WhatsApp Payments feature despite updating the app, you need to look for someone who has the Payments feature enabled on their phones.
— Ask the user with a payment feature to send you a “payment notification” in your chat. A payment notification can be sent by tapping on Payments in the chat sharing options
— When you receive a payment notification from the contact, WhatsApp will ask you to set up your payment account.
— Once you click on the “Set Up” option you will be able to create a payments account on WhatsApp.

“We’ve been working on this with the National Payments Corporation of India, who oversee everything to make sure it’s secure and reliable. And we’ve built it using India’s Unified Payments Interface, which makes it easy for anyone to instantly accept payments across different apps -- and for companies to provide people with great services,” Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg had said about the launch.

WhatsApp has rolled out the feature in Brazil and India but the feature would be available in Mexico, UK, Spain and Europe in the future.
Lets meet on Disability sausage youtube channel for much more!

Business leadership should lift the standard of Kenyans with disabilities Author Mugambi Paul Opinions expressed here are of my own.

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

It’s time to end the mass exclusion of 15% of the global population with a disability] Sharon 2017, HI 2018 UNDP 2018.] This mass exclusion cannot be left to Governments and charities
alone, it needs the most powerful force on the planet, business leadership. CEOs make choices and choices create cultures] world economic forum 2019.

Fortunately, being a public scholar, am only too familiar with this, having seen the birth and having been instrumental in the quest of the Kenyans persons with disability act, which I don’t remember us celebrating any of its last 17th birthdays.
I am glad that the persons with disability act exist. In other words, I am happy in a measured way since it took more than 10 years of struggle from 1993 to be enacted after the Kibaki road accident.
Actually, the progress of implementation has been slow and tumultuous. Furthermore, it has taken 17 good years for the Kenya business crew to form a Kenya disability business network to champion employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
With the coming up of global commitment we have also evidently seen the launch of NCPWD career portal which will be a great gateway for employees with disabilities and also a platform for employers.
This is one of the great enablers for economic freedom for persons with disabilities.
Will we have a clear roadmap and monitoring of the employment of persons with disabilities?
Many studies affirm Persons with disabilities contribute great value when it comes to their productivity, and diversity of lived experience and thought to their employers
– bringing a competitive advantage to their businesses.
Additionally, in my pursuit of the policy issues which I have dedicated my career to, including those relating to disability inclusion, I have established
the Disability sausage YouTube channel for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement, a non-partisan YouTube channel.
We shall be engaging on this and much more.
All in all, the treasury audit of persons with disabilities will be the key of unlocking the execution of the yet to be reappealed act. Thus, informing future policy statements

Exploring depression angles from the disability mirror:

Exploring depression angles from the disability mirror:
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”

Depression isn't always suicide notes and pill bottles.
It's also...

- Being emotionally distant

- Skipping work to sleep

- Overeating or not eating at all

- Social isolation

- Spending all day in bed

Although we generally think of depression as sadness,

depression is actually more of a syndrome consisting

of many symptoms related to sadness.

It’s something that a lot of us face at some point in our lives,

or it can be an ongoing struggle. But it no longer has to win!

Luckily, there are lots of actions we can take to lessen the severity of depression!

We can make small but meaningful changes to our body, mind and environment.

That means that each of us has the power to improve our quality of life.

But, what exactly, should we do?

We shall join the Disability YouTube channel for more

Africa should rise to the digital Market:

“The rise of assistive devices: How tech is helping people with disabilities”
Author Mugambi Paul Opinions expressed by Disability sausage maker are my own. Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills are fundamental to really participate in modern society. ]carol 2020, caa 207” The Entelis+ project was born to facilitate inclusion of persons with disabilities by providing them with adequate digital skills.
With over a billion people (about 15 per cent of the world’s
population) having some form of disability, according to WHO, it
becomes important for tech companies to create their products with
accessibility features in mind. As awareness towards assistive
technology (AT) is growing, major tech companies and young startups
are either creating special hardware products or incorporating
software features designed to address the needs of individuals with
disabilities. Here are some of the best examples of assistive tech
designed to address the day to day barriers faced by people with
Xbox Adaptive Controller
The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been designed for gamers with
disabilities. The controller, which looks like an old-school white
box, features two large black buttons that can be reprogrammed, and a
smaller steering button. The rectangular-shaped controller features
dozens of 3.5mm jacks round the back that connect to a number of
external switches, buttons, mounts, and joysticks. The Xbox Adaptive
Controller is wireless in nature with a built-in rechargeable battery
but it can also work with a wired USB connection. The controller can
be used with Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs and is priced at Rs
8539. Time Magazine named Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller as one
of the best inventions of 2018.
iPhone 12 Pro let see a blind how close another person is
The recently launched iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have a LiDAR
scanner that helps a blind person detect how close other people are.
The new “People Detection” feature, which has been rolled as part of
iOS 14.2, takes advantage of the iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR scanner to
detect how close others are from the user who has low vision issues. A
LiDAR scanner can be used to measure the distance to objects in a
room. The scanner has been primarily used to improve augmented reality
experiences, but Apple is thinking in a whole new direction to use a
3D sensor as assistive technology to help individuals who are experiencing low vision.

Is the BBI cake disabled? Author Mugambi paul

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”



The journey of transformation or making reforms to a nationhood takes time and commitment amongst the citizenry.

The process should inculcate the basic fundamentals of inclusivity(CAROL 2018).

What happens when the largest minority in Kenya is excluded?

The analysis and all aspects lead to a continuous marginalization which has existed for a long time.

As a public policy scholar and a person who has immensely contributed to 2nd liberation of Kenya and more so has seen the entry and the survival of the Kenyan disability sector.

I affirm it’s a torturous journey to make reforms or change the mindset.

With the existence of discrimination, structural barriers and lack of engagement at the main table. I opine the BBI report has not even given us the bread crumps which exist in the current 2010 constitution but ensured it has snatched everything from the disability community.

The mention of issues of persons with disabilities is just for cosmetic purposes.

Why are policy makers conducting a 3rd killing of the already downtroded persons?

Were they finishing the work which was conducted by the Kenya bureau of statistics in 2019 of reducing our numbers?

Congrats to the organization of persons with disabilities who have strongly come up to defend our rights as envisaged in the constitution 2010, UNCRPD and other human rights treaty bodies which Kenya is a signatory.

I wish if the BBI report would have made a recommendation to allocate budget to prevent rise and increase of disabilities. Furthermore, the government is not able to maintain the small number in its service delivery.

I highly note if a survey was conducted today among persons with disabilities the results will be compelling. Most persons with disabilities would prefer if the government to take away the disablement so that they can enjoy just like the yet to be disabled persons.

Most persons with disabilities in Kenya live in undignified manner and face multifaceted discrimination as they seek services. They are the ones in the slums, in the rural places and are not even aware of the BBI drama. Will the disability narrative change? for those silent friend of disabled, government entities (Mungu anawaona)

On the other hand, I believe the government is testing the waters, the real BBI is not yet out. The BBI will be inclusive.

EXPERTS OPINION ON DISABILITY BBI The following Memorandum has been authored by experts based on best practises in the globe. We shall demonstrate how to advance the rights of persons with disabilities based on human rights model.

The following Memorandum has been authored by experts based on best practises in the globe.  We shall demonstrate how to advance the rights of persons with disabilities based on human rights model.

This Memorandum Its also informed by the lived experiences and collection of views from persons with disabilities.

We therefore seek to offer our technical expertise.

Paul Mugambi is a public policy diversity Inclusion and sustainability expert while

DR Siyat is an independent disability consultant.


To the Joint Secretaries,

 Ambassador Martin Kimani, Mr. Paul Mwangi,

National Steering Committee on Implementation of BBI Taskforce, 

12th Floor, Kenyatta International Conference Centre.                               


Dear Sirs, 

RE: RESPONSE TO THE PUBLIC participation in matters of public interest.



We believe the BBI final report will reflect the views of persons with disabilities.

Through most of the affirmative solutions suggested Kenyans with disabilities will feel more included than the current situation where Kenyans with disabilities are yet to enjoy the fruits of being Kenyan.

We believe we are enriching the 9-point agendas.




  1. The current National Council for Persons with Disabilities whose mandate is to implement on rights, privileges, and protection is limited and we request for the establishment of a robust national disability service commission “NDSC” with the following mandate:
    • Inquiries on disability discrimination and rights violation among persons with disabilities.
    • Regulate and offer policy direction on matters disabilities.
    • Monitor and evaluate disability services.
    • Fund Disability Service Organisations and organizations of disabled persons to deliver disability services and products.
    • Establish a National Disability Advocacy Program under the CS Social Protection/CS Disability portfolio and fund advocacy targeted disability advocacy service organisations that have proper operational governance in the advocacy and linkage programmed “ALP.
    • Formulate policies on national disability service standards and national advocacy standards that provides guide to disability service organisations and disability advocacy organisations to audit their KPIs.
  1. The Government printers should have a unit assigned to produce information in alternative formats electronic braille, hard braille, audio, sign language and easy to read format as envisaged in the UNCRPD and constitution.
  2. All government public forms and information available online to be accessible to people with any disability.
  • Provide text-to-speech functionality to read a site’s content aloud and encourage the use of Assistive technology (AT) products developed with the intention of meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
  • Put in place guidelines to remove common barriers to web accessibility so as not to exclude people with any disability because the internet is used in government, health care, education, finance and other essential areas equally impacting on the lives of persons with disability.
  • The National government, the County Governments, public and private organizations to offer equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities, giving them the ability to actively participate in society.
  1. Establishment of braille authority which will regulate reading and writing of braille language certify braille instructors.
  2. At list 4 % of the national budget should be dedicated to the Kenya National Disability Service Commission.
  3. All county governments should have at list 3 % of their budget dedicated to disability services.
  4. All Counties should appoint CS with portfolio on disability.
  5. The national employment authority should establish a disability employment services department with the following mandate:
  • To be in charge of disability employment services of persons with disability to offer technical and vocational training to persons with disability to gain meaningful employment in both formal and informal sectors.
  • The disability employment service should research and recommend both public and private sectors who have met 10 % minimum employment for tax waver to the Kenya revenue authority.
  • Establish a real time database for persons with disabilities who are employed and none employed where employers can easily access and as envisaged in the national employment authority as they do for the youth.
  • Tax exemption should be provided to start-ups by persons with disabilities as a mechanism and strategy of enhancing their capacity for income generation just like the youth.


  1. Corruption is rampant and constitutes an existential threat to Kenya and her peoples.

Unfortunately, this does not exclude the disability sector.

In this regard it is undermining prosperity. That it is a bad example to the persons with disabilities. Corruption impacts disproportionally on Persons with disabilities. It diverts resources which would otherwise be used to enrich the wellbeing of Persons with disabilities in the social, political and economic development spheres.

  • The National anticorruption enforcing agency to establish an inquiry and investigate on disability related corruption and other malpractices with ultimate purpose to bring individuals and organisations that have fleeced or acquired wealth with disguise supporting persons with disabilities.
  • The assets authority should assist to recover the proceeds of disability corruption and this money recovered can be directed to the social protection programmes.


  1. Persons with disabilities should be given a chance to elect their own in parliament, member assembly with a clear legislative on the process.
  2. The 5 % progressive representation in both nominated and appointing authority should be increased to 10 % since even the population of the largest minority has highly increased. Some areas to have mandatory representation. at least one member of the national cabinet and County Executive Committees. At least one principle secretary at the national government, at least one chief county officer at the county level one commissioner in all commissions established in the country.
  3. The national construction authority should be mandated to actualize accessibility standards before authorizing new constructions of both public and private buildings and this should be replicated at all Counties.
  4. All disability peer support groups -The Kenya society for the blind, The Kenya Deaf Association, the Kenya Physical Disability Association etc. should receive direct support for the exchequer in order to ensure smooth running of their rehabilitation and peer support network.
  5. The Kenya National Bureau of statistics is mandated to conduct the National Census.

However, in the National Census exercise, the prevalence of persons with disability is not well captured by the Kenya Bureau of statistics on the state of affairs of persons with disabilities.

The National Census should include specific questions asking respondents whether they have difficulty functioning in their environment or experience activity limitations in the domains of communications, mobility, self-care or psychosocial disability.

This should be replicated in all government assessments/survey tools.

  1. The Kenya National commission on Human Rights should have a specific delegated disability discrimination commissioner as conferred in Article 27 (4) who shall operate under disability rights-based legislations to protect and promote the well-being of people with disability, including the rights to access social services, the right for training and employment and being free from discrimination based on their disability as outlined in articles 7, 21, 43 and 54 of the Kenyan constitution (2010).
  2. Many Kenyans care for someone with disability, an individual or child with medical condition, mental illness or someone who is frail due to age.

Households caring for persons with disabilities are faced with huge costs due to their care duties.

Subsequently, many Caregivers (parents/guardians/carers) are unable to fully engage in income-generating activities because of caring for someone with severe or Profound Disability.

We recommend that the National Government helps carers remain engaged in the community, participate in the workforce and stay healthy while continuing their caring role through the provision of funding to subsidize their efforts and contributions through the social protection net or provide other range of supports to help them manage their daily challenges, reduce stress and plan for their future.


  1. Creation of national public authority which will be in charge of public housing based at the ministry of housing transport and urban development.
  • At least 20% of the housing should be allocated to persons with disabilities
  • At least the 20% of housing should have the universal design meeting the international accessibility standards.





Why the Blind in Kenya should be categorized as “Severe disabled” Author Mugambi Paul

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”




Several studies and literature have given definition of who should be severely disabled.

In the Kenyan context policy makers and stakeholders have arguably claimed that those under 24 hours care are supposedly entitled to this school of thought [Kenyan social protection strategy, cash transfer annual [.

Times have really changed. The current review being spearheaded by the social assistance programme by several development partners and the ministry of social protection should ensure the new social policy becomes more inclusive and in-depth.

 since I would like to make a case for the Blind.

Am not making this debate as a mere fact that myself am a blind person but with several scholarly arguments, observations and reasons base on Bing a public policy scholar and with lived disability experience.

To begin with social protection mechanisms which A Kenya has gradually been adapting have not been in compliant with the UNCRPD 2006, ILO standards, which Kenya adopted Kenya constitution article 27 on matters discrimination.

This is to say social protection is supposed to be inclusive for all.

The co values in chapter 10 need to be respected.

In other words, the new social policy needs to align itself with the current trends of inclusiveness and not living any one behind.

My second argument is based on the premises that most social protection programmed set aside for the defend sectors have not been Blind friendly at all.

For instance, since the start of the national youth service programme in 2013 no Blind persons has ever been admitted.

Du’a’’s we have Blind youth who can serve the nation?

Should the national youth service curriculum be revised to ensure Blind are recognized?


The proponents of this programme will argue that service men and women needed for this programme are supposed to use sight. Then where do the Blind youth go?

This affirms that Blind are more vulnerable and lack opportunities.

Additionally, the cash transfer programme has denied entry of individuals who are blind despite Poverty being a twin sister of blindness [world blind union 2004[.

Thirdly most job advertisements in Kenya have discriminatory practices of saying that people should have a driving license.

moreover, even most agencies both public and non-state actors who claim to thrust the gospel of inclusion also have joined the fray! Where and how does a blind Kenyan get driving license?

I am also eager to get one.

Organizations of persons with disabilties and self-advocates have been silent on this matter!

Fourthly several studies and media reports have confirmed that most beggars are blind persons. Where do you think the blind men and women who never got an opportunity to join higher institutions are?

Other than those who are hidden in their houses, you will obviously meet the blind beggars.

Apparently, The Kenya union of the Blind had a Sacco for this individual. Don’t you think its high time the beggar’s Sacco got a boost from financial partners?

Furthermore, the beggars have families who relight on them.

Academicians and researchers need to put their minds together and unravel the begging angle so us to enable the understanding of its social economic impacts in the society.

Fifthly, the largest group of blind persons are the beggars who have actually not gotten even basics of education, most do not have even access to white canes and most are also denied even to see the sunlight.


Never the less, after Citizen’ tv airing of the Begging story mid-year, a debate in the disability circle got underway but never provided a conclusive answer rather the argument centered on why persons with disabilities should not be associated with begging profession.

According to several media reports Nairobi, Mombasa, Meru and other counties have made several attempts to kick out the beggars in the vicinity but this seems to be a thorn in the flesh. Beggars keep on coming back. Some argue most are Tanzanians while others claim they are individuals who have not been served by the community.

Isn’t right time Kenya offering a permanent solution by providing social protection to the unemployed blind persons and recognize them as severely disabled?

The individuals, institutions who are currently tasked to represent the Blind need to rise up and author several policy statements to kick start   the voyage of empowerment of the blind.

All in all, blind persons in Kenya deserve to live in a respectable and dignified manner just like any other human being.

The White cane escapades. Guest author:

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

Dear stranger who passes me on the street,


It seems a little strange, addressing a letter to you, even though I haven’t walked alone anywhere in the past six months, but I am an eternal optimist

(a terrible flaw, I know), and hold hope that I will be able to do so someday again. At the outset, I would like to clarify one thing, regardless of whether

you are the-stranger-who-have-actually-passed-me-on-the-street or stranger-who-might-do-so-one-day.



 White Cane Day

 till date, I have mostly written articles on the mechanics of using a white cane and how it works, or introspective essays on what the white cane means

to me (short answer: independence). This white cane day, however, I would like to remind you that, in order to have independent and enjoyable travel experience,

it is not enough to have or use a white cane merely.


The people I encounter while travelling and their attitudes also determine whether my travel is stress-free. I would like to now turn my attention to micro-aggressions

that are frequently directed toward me as I travel alone as a woman with a disability. Without further ado, here are some dos and don’ts for the passer-by.


First of all, let me tell you, it is absolutely inappropriate to stop me in the middle of the street and make comments such as “My sister’s son is blind

too! He is amazing!” or “I pray for people like you every day.” Don’t you realize I’ve got things to do and places to be, just like everyone else? Consider

it your lucky day if I don’t retort with “I meet hundreds of insensitive random strangers like you all the time. Shocking, Isn’t it?”


Secondly, it is equally inappropriate to grab me as I walk, without my express permission to guide me. If you really think I need help, the best thing

you can do is to ask me if I do (politely and calmly, now). Grabbing someone who is just walking around, and minding her own business, is completely unjustifiable.

Really, haven’t you heard anything about consent? Or is it that you don’t think it applies equally to a disabled body as a nondisabled one? You might have

good intentions, but how would I know that? You wouldn’t ever dream of grabbing a nondisabled woman in that way, would you?


Next, if you do ask me whether I need help, and the answer is no, walk away, even if your instinct urges you to push it. I am the one who decides if, when

and from whom to accept help, not you. Moreover, I am under no obligation to explain to you why I do not want your help. You asked, I answered, you walk

on—end of the story.


Now, if there comes a situation where you are going to guide me (regardless of whether you offered help or I asked for it), either offer me your elbow,

as people generally should when a sighted person guides a blind person, or take my non-cane hand. For me, since I am right-handed, my left hand would be

the one you are expected to take. Please, please please, do not hold my cane or lift it up from the ground.


The whole point of having a cane with me is that it will sweep the ground in front of me and alert me to obstacles in my way. I need it, whether or not

you are guiding me. Don’t force me to engage in a tug of war with you in the middle of the street, with you on one end of the cane, and me on the other.

It is highly undignified.


Next, the brief moments in which you help me from one side of the street to the other, are not exactly the right ones to ask questions about blindness

in general or me in particular. Like I mentioned before, things to do and places to be. General questions such as how I use my phone, how blind people

travel, etc., are best addressed to Google. After all, you Google everything else, so why not this?


Answers to specific questions such as how I became blind, whether I was born blind or became blind, etc., are part of my personal story, which I am under

no obligation to share in the middle of the busiest 80 ft Road. Essentially, what I am trying to say, is that I do not live for the express purpose of

teaching you what blind people can do, or how we do things.


An offer of help shouldn’t come with an expectation that I will answer your questions in return. I realize that this is perhaps the first time you are

ever meeting or talking to a blind person, but you might not be the first or even fifth person I would have met over the course of that day to ask me these

questions, and it can get old really soon.


Next, it is also not your place to make comments such as “people like you should stay at home.” Or, my favorite “Where are your parents?” As I am an adult

travelling by herself, these questions are not necessary, to say the least, and are better kept to yourself. Don’t force me to reply with “none of your



Finally, if you are a person with strong religious beliefs, specifically about a cure, please do not stop me and tell me to pray to so-and-so deity, perform

so-and-so poojas, or read so-and-so portions of the bible. The fact that you think all disabled people need to be cured is in itself highly ableist.


Therefore, don’t blame me if I, equally politely, ask you to read up on ableism and the very contentious issue of cure. Same goes for those people who

believe in certain doctors, alternative medicines, or any other cure. I am not a broken doll that needs to be fixed. I am a person who celebrates her blind

body and all that it entails. And of course, it goes without saying that the middle of the street is certainly not the place to be debating these things.


The above is not an exhaustive list of the types of micro-aggressions I encounter, but merely the most annoying ones. This White Cane Day, I urge you to

keep these in mind and cooperate with the disabled community, as we try to create less stressful travel experiences for all.

Why 13th October 2020 will be “the Kenyan Disability Historical moment” “Who will be the Disability BOSS?” Author Mugambi Paul

Author Mugambi Paul



The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”



there is a growing need to ensure those most

vulnerable are not left behind in public participation [2019 constitution, uncrpd 2006 and SDG 2015].

 In particular, the Kenyan census 2019 indicate there are 2.2 % Kenyans who have disabilities.

Never the less, this data is highly disputed by both policy makers and Kenyans with disabilities.


For many and varied reasons, Kenyans with disabilities are highly

vulnerable and continue to face multifaceted modes of discrimination.

Additionally, Covid 2019 has even made the situation worse.

for instance, during this pandemic for one, Kenyans with disabilities are more

likely to experience pre-existing health conditions that put them at a higher risk

of illness and death due to COVID-19. They are also more likely to fall in to cracks within the

category of low-income earners, this is affirmed by the deplorable living conditions most have lived to experience.

Most studies have shown that Kenyans with disabilities are often excluded from receiving public services and cannot even afford the basic social services.

This is also disproportionately triggered by the existence of multidimensional factors

Who will spearhead the much-needed transformation?

Who will offer social justice to the 45th Tribe of Kenyans? will Kenya have a disability strategy?



Historically, 13th October will remain the defining moment in Kenya. Out of 58 applicants for the position of executive director only 8 made to the top after the closure on September 7th 2020.

The Kenyan disability space is highly expectant.

Disability desegregated Data analysis:

According to my data analysis persons with disabilities who made their applications showed 63.5 % out of the 58 were persons with disabilities.

25 were persons with physical disabilities.

7 were person with visual disabilities.

3 were deaf persons

One person had albinism

Out of 88 16 were females.

We were not able to ascertain persons with psychosocial or intellectual impairments

Personal tribute:

I also take this chance to congratulate the youthful Richard, Wanja and Mercy for representing our generation.

You shall live to fight another day.

What do Kenyans with disabilities want?

As a public policy diversity and inclusion expert I have persistently said Kenyan needs to actually adapt simple, simless, and tested strategies which do not actually require much resources but administratively can change lives of Kenyans with disabilities.

For example, ensuring adaptation of the human right model approach on disabilities since I believe Kenyans with disabilities have rights not just needs.

Secondly exterminate the medical model of assessing persons with disability and adapt assessment based on functional capabilities and ensure decentralization of the registration process.

Thirdly, Slacken disability mainstreaming and job placements.

This will be the beginning of real transformation to the lives of Kenyans with disabilities.

Moreover, Being and indigenous rural based think tank I believe this will ensure enhanced access of public services to all persons with disabilities.

I believe the greater engagement with organization of persons with disabilities, self-advocates will be of paramount.

Will the next disability boss reduce the 12 crimes of being disabled in Kenya?

Check out March 18th 2019 blog:

Twelve Crimes of being disabled in Kenya Author: Paul M. Mugambi.

Who will be the 4th NCPWD boss?


The 8 persons who made to the date with destiny day are as follows:



entitPaul Leringato, HSC

  1. Wisdom Kazungu Mwamburi
  2. Joywin Chepkemoi Sang
  3. Peter Sibale Musakhi
  4. Patrick Mumo Muinde
  5. James Kariuki Ndwiga
  6. Harun Maalim Hassan
  7. Simon Nyamola Owawa



All in all, this will be a new chapter for transforming a new Kenyan disability strategy full of aspirations, actualizing dreams of many Kenyans with disabilities and expanding the Kenyan national cake to the largest minority of Kenyans.

Will persons with disabilities start to live their lives based on the individual autonomy and choices they make?

May the best man or woman serve the sector.


Why Covid-2019 should not slam doors of disability evolution! “Corona don’t live us behind!” Author Mugambi Paul

he opinions expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”





The COVID-19 pandemic, in the first half-year of its existence, has impacted the lives of most people on Earth in one way or another. It is the first truly global pandemic in modern times and each of us has been forced to grapple with its effects, both individually and collectively.  persons with disabilities around the world continue to be disproportionately affected and feel the heat.

 With this notwithstanding, the negative societal effects COVID-19 has wrought is written all over the world, in many cases, been even more profound when viewed through the lens of persons with disabilities and these impacts have been aggravated even further in countries dealing with humanitarian crisis.

Furthermore, Persons with disabilities living in humanitarian set ups already deal with increased health challenges, exacerbated threats to their security, and societal marginalization that negatively impacts nearly every facet of their lives. In some cases, that marginalization comes from misconceptions that disability is somehow contagious and should be shunned; more frequently, though, it is the result of the broad assumption that persons with disabilities must be cared for and kept in restrictive environments for their “protection” — robbing them of basic dignity and the fundamental opportunity to explore and realize their personal potential. Though disability inclusion efforts have started to gain global momentum in recent years in several countries in which the international NGOS and local partners work.

 now with the current new trends of the Covid pandemic and its attendant social restrictions — persons with disabilities in these fragile contexts are at risk of being pushed even further to the periphery of their communities, potentially negating any progress that had been made.

In other words, I opine persons with disabilties can’t experience the ne norm since Corona has even worsen the situation.

Despite being a population that is particularly-risk prone to COVID-19, persons with disabilities face even greater inequalities in accessing basic services including healthcare, education, employment and social protection during the pandemic. This could erode all the positive developments that the world has recorded in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

While there are certainly very legitimate Covid-related health concerns specific to persons with disabilities affect the immune system, lung function or other related factors that can put them at higher risk for serious complications.

Additionally, the lack of latest data statistics also contributes to the poor outcomes on planning and service delivery to both development and humanitarian sectors.

More over most of the service delivery tend to focus on one particular disability and thus marginalization of the marginalized.

For instance, most of the time persons with psychosocial and intellectual impaired are not considered in different activities.

In accessing information its also highly pronounced among the Blind, Deaf blind etc.

 – perhaps the bigger, less personally-controllable risks they face are related to the very seclusion from which they have spent so many years trying to break free. Just as they have begun to find the first tiny openings in their ability to access education or gain regular employment or even play sports, the isolation necessitated by the pandemic threatens to slam those doors closed once again. The real danger, though, is that the doors will remain closed even after the pandemic is under control because its imminent threat will have caused societies already reeling from the instability of war and conflict to forget about prioritizing the inclusion of persons with disabilities and building into their culture.

As a public policy diversity and inclusion expert I take note of for persons with disabilities, the ability to achieve economic security and independence has very often been a goal kept out of reach by a variety of societal assumptions about their ability – or inability – to reliably fulfill professional requirements, their perceived increased rate of health-related absences or a host of other preconceptions. Now, just as these misconceptions are starting to be proven wrong by persons with disabilities more often entering the work forces in many countries, the economic impact of the pandemic on the global and local economies could be devastating for their collective progress.

The sustainable development goal theme of not living any one behind might become a mirage if nations don’t take necessary measures to caution men, boys, girls and women with disabilties.

I affirm what is necessary to stop this temporary barrier from becoming a long-term regression is the commitment from all sections of society – governments, employers, educational institutions, healthcare providers, among others – in countries all over the world to continue prioritizing disability inclusion efforts. This is not only essential to create opportunities for persons with disabilities, but it will also benefit societies, economies, business, etc., by bringing the vast potential of a population estimated at over 1 billion people into the fold. Many studies have shown that companies and organizations that prioritize hiring persons with disabilities have a positive impact on profits and better corporate culture. For example, U.S. companies that excel at disability employment and inclusion are four times more likely to deliver higher shareholder returns than their competitors, according to a 2018 study by Accenture.


only way real change will happen is if they are supported by the commitment of the broader societies in which they work.

Disability inclusion will survive the coronavirus pandemic only if everyone believes it is a necessary social evolution and acts accordingly to support its growth. If this can happen, not only will people with disabilities transcend the societal impacts of COVID-19, but the communities, businesses, universities and organizations that push for their inclusion will grow and improve as well.


Shielding rights of persons with disabilities Author Mugambi Paul

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”



The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our everyday lives upside down. Recently, its impact on persons with disabilities has been felt in almost all spheres of life.

More barriers on inclusion have been identified by different studies by by individuals with disabilities, organizations of persons with disabilities, governments and also other stakeholders.

For many reasons, people with disabilities are among the groups most at risk in this pandemic. Their often compromised health status means they have a high risk of adverse outcomes if they get the virus; their need for personal care and support with everyday living makes it more difficult to take effective precautions such as social distancing; and, the well-documented inability of health systems to respond adequately to people with disabilities means health services will struggle to provide them with quality care during the pandemic.

People with intellectual disabilities in particular will find it difficult to understand what is happening during this time and are very susceptible to isolation and loneliness. For some, the restrictions on visitors to family or group homes, and limited access or support to use online technology, have meant little or no contact with friends and family for months.

The same story is affecting blind and vision impaired persons. Not even many are aware the proper wearing of masks. Most adverts are too visual thus rendering communication barrier.


Needless to say, the role of health services in Kenya is by the county governments.

This has seen had failed to quickly recognize and respond to the greater risks of COVID-19 on people with disabilities, leaving this community disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Early emergency plans focused on older people. In Kenya we are yet to see disability specific pans or even outlined measures by both national and county governments on disability corona response.

Additionally, in other jurisdiction we have seen development of disability advisory committees which is quite important in ensuring article 4 of the UNCRPd is implemented.

We hope soon we can have a disability telephone help line dedicated towards addressing the challenges.

Some silver lining has been seen in some nations on the reopening up of economies by provision of disability inclusive plans and actions.

Will African countries follow same way or we shall ensure protection of rights of persons with disabilities ins not achieved?




Why we must dismantle social ableism Author Mugambi paul.

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”



As COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live and relate to one another, Kenyans with disabilities like me have been living in fear, not just of the virus, but of community attitudes to our lives and existence. The pandemic has brought to the forefront deeply ableist ideas held by our society that see disabled lives as disposable. Our lives are not worth living, and are not worthy of the same care and protection. Our deaths do not carry with them the same grief and sorrow that abled deaths do. We are casualties that must be accepted for the greater good of our economy.

This discourse has dangerously manifested in our hospitals, shaping COVID-19 triaging policies and the way medical professionals treat persons with disabilities– with or without the virus.

Globally, its evidently clear some nations they have   disregard for lives of persons with disabilities.

People with disability have been identified as particularly “vulnerable” to this potentially deadly illness. If only we all had the freedom to decide who, and how many people, we have contact with in our own homes.


For instance, president of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed sadness over the death of Nathaniel Julius, a teenager with Down syndrome, during a police operation.


I have been continually shocked and angered by triaging guidelines that override shared decision-making processes, fail to acknowledge disproportionate rates of disability amongst already oppressed communities – such as rural and slum dwellers.

I affirm due to the changing times I have had from senior leaders, journalists, business persons who believe we should position life to normalcy.

It’s okay – COVID only really kills old and disabled people. If you’re young, you’re strong and healthy and won’t be at risk. The people who die from COVID don’t really have a quality of life anyway. We really do need to open up the economy for the rest of us. With resources so scarce and hospitals overwhelmed we need to priorities those of us who would actually survive.



For many persons with disabilities, hospitals are already traumatic places where we are spoken over, invalidated and dehumanized. Frequently they are places that deprive us of care, brutalize our bodies and result in our death. How do we begin to confront the even more explicit violence in our healthcare system COVID has triggered? When I think about the not-so-distant future, and try to imagine how our disability community is coping, I am filled with anguish thinking of the scars these triaging narratives will leave. I think of the trauma being resurfaced for hundreds of thousands of disabled people who have already suffered mistreatment at the hands of healthcare systems, and I think of those persons with disabilities who would’ve survived COVID, had things been different. I vow to remember them and keep working towards a world grounded in disability justice, where no one is disposable and we can receive the care that we need. As Mpofunamba1 articulates in one of the music track attitudinal barriers do exist where women with disabilties are even questioned which animal impregnated you. As f women with disabilities are not supposed to enjoy sex and give birth. Several studies have shown increase of gender-based violence against persons with disabilities.

Based on a biased understanding of appearance, functioning and behavior, many consider disability a misfortune that make life not worth living. To promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, we must dismantle social ableism and embrace disability as a positive aspect of the human experience.

The world’s population is ageing. By 2050, people over the age of 60 are expected to account for 21 per cent of the global population. About half of them will live with a disability, making this the largest community of persons with disabilities—and one of the most stigmatized and neglected.

The deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability is a human rights violation on a massive global scale. As Mpofunamba1 I say it is not a “necessary evil” but a consequence of the failure of States to ensure their obligations towards persons with disabilities.




Parents, You Matter!” Guest author Alison

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.


I have been thinking hard about how important a parent is in the life of a special needs child…

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about autism. It’s been a crazy season – being home, working from home, and helping the kids with their schoolwork, etc. There is something I have learnt during this season, though. Parents are very important. Parents matter. Parents are special people.

Parents, let me encourage you today.

You know your child better than anyone else

Picture this. You take your child for a therapy session, and they are crying all through. The therapist tells you that things will get better with time, but at the next session, things are the same. You try a few more sessions, and nothing changes. Then you start to notice that your child cries every time you are leaving for the therapist’s clinic, or every time the therapist is just about to get to your house for a session. At this point, you, as the parent, make an executive decision and stop the sessions. Why? Because you know your child best.

I have been there. I have had to make this decision several times. Initially, I felt that I should have tried just one more time, then I realized that it was up to me to make sure that my child was happy and at peace. Nobody else could have done it for me.

You communicate best with your child

Maybe your child is not yet speaking. Maybe you are longing to hear that first word. Can you tell, however, when your child is sad? Can you tell when he or she wants to have a meal or go to the bathroom? Most likely you can, especially when nobody else can tell what your child is trying to communicate.

How does this help? Imagine you go for a therapy session, and the therapist asks your child to do something. Your little one does not respond, and the therapist is stuck. You then offer to try and talk to your child, explaining the instructions. He or she quickly responds by doing what the therapist has asked. Do you see what I mean? Parents always know how to communicate with their kids.

Parents, don’t beat yourself up just because your child is not speaking. There are other ways that kids can communicate like sign language, using technology, writing, using pictures, etc. Find the best way to communicate with your child.

You want to help your child out of love

Nobody wants your child to acquire skills as much as you do. Nobody understands how important it is for your child to be independent like you do. Your love for your child is what drives you to hire therapists, follow the home program, buy equipment, etc.

You may, however, find that the people you hire to help your child are doing it for the money. Others may be doing their job just because it is a job, not because they love working with your child. The bottom line is, your love for your child is what will drive you to keep going, to keep learning, to keep training, and to keep waiting patiently for a skill to be mastered.

I just want to encourage a parent here. The world will not always accept our children for who they are. It is up to us to show them how to love children who are abled differently, and to show them that being different is not a bad thing. Also, surround yourself with like-minded people, people who will support you on your parenting journey, people who will love and accept your child just as they are, and people who may even offer to watch your child while you catch a breather!

You are your child’s greatest resource

Parents, you are your child’s greatest resource. You provide them with love and care. You make sure their environment is conducive to learning. You purchase all that they need for therapy, school, etc. You feed them and clothe them. You teach them the things that only a parent can. You pay for therapy sessions and school. Parents, you rock!

In this season when accessing services is hard, I believe that parents can still do something with their children. What have seen your therapist do that you can do at home? Find out what activities your child can do to improve in areas in which he or she has challenges. For example, if your therapist has mentioned fine motor skills in the past, look for videos with fine motor activities you can do at home. Also, for those who are doing teletherapy, it’s important to remember that a good session works best when you are there to help with setup, resources, etc. You can also opt to get a therapist to come up with a good home program for your child which you will implement.

See how important you are, dear parents?

One last thing, though. You need to recharge from time to time otherwise you will burn out. Find a way to catch a break whenever possible. You need it.


How Do Disabled People Feel About Discussing Their Disabilities? Guest author A Pulrang

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.




For people with disabilities, talking about our disabilities is complicated.

Sometimes, when people ask their perennial questions, or just look at us in a certain way, we can almost hear them say it:

“Go on! Do that thing you do, where you remind me how my own little problems aren’t so bad. Do that ‘inspiration’ thing that makes me feel better about myself for admiring you.”

What does it mean when a wheelchair user speaks at a political convention? What does it mean when a blind person gives a motivational speech, when an amputee engages students or employees on “disability awareness?” What does it mean when any disabled person, in the ordinary course of their day, is asked to explain their disability, or tell their disability “story?” And what does it mean when the disabled person tells their story? And what does it mean when they say, “No, not today. Not here. Not for you. I’m not here to be your inspiration.”

From a non-disabled point of view, it must sometimes seem like we disabled people can’t make up our minds. That’s because the whole subject is fraught with conflicting choices, each with pluses, minuses, and even moral implications.

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Do we raise awareness, or mind our own business? Do we welcome questions from the curious, or draw clear boundaries to guard our privacy. If we want a better world for disabled people, what is our own obligation to further that goal? Will we share our most profound experiences and thoughts about disability, and for what purpose — or whose?

Some of us are quite anxious to tell our stories to anyone who will listen. It can make us feel less alone with our burdens and traumas. Some of us draw strength and purpose from telling our stories of triumph over adversity, dispelling myths about disability, or advocating for better disability policies and political power for disabled people. Despite popular rhetoric about “not letting disability define us,” a great many of disabled people do organize much of our lives around our disability experiences and identity, and we do it intentionally, joyfully.


At the same time, disabled people have mixed feelings about sharing our experiences with others. We all have different ideas about the pros and cons of sharing our stories, raising awareness, and “educating” non-disabled people about disability. And what we think about it can change from day to day, from person to person, and situation to situation.

To understand how disabled people struggle with these questions of sharing, educating, advocating, you need to explore some of the positives and negatives we juggle every day.


First, some disabled people find sharing their disability stories therapeutic. Many who were disabled later in life need to tell how they became disabled. And talking about our disabilities and everyday struggles with ableism can help all of us clarify how we feel about our disabilities.

While few of us like to admit it, many of us do in fact crave sympathy or at least empathy. Getting a positive, supportive response to our disability stories can be validating. It can, at least in the short term, compensate for some of the negativity and unvarnished prejudice we encounter regularly. And genuine empathy can actually make our lives easier by reducing misunderstandings and judgment.

There is also the practical benefit, or necessity, of sharing something about our disabilities in order to get help and accommodations that we need to survive, and that can help level the playing field for our ambitions. Having to reveal private information in order to obtain equal opportunity is a constant burr in our sides. But it is the most consistently beneficial payoff for this awkward exchange.

Finally, some of us choose to embrace being spokespeople of sorts for the disability community, and the cause of disability rights and justice. Some disabled people commit themselves to advocacy, motivational speaking, writing, and educating the public … all of which call for some degree or another of personal sharing. These commitments can give purpose to a disabled person’s life, if purpose is missing or uncertain. It can give meaning to a person’s disability, if meaning is important to them. For some of us, it’s also a living, and a potentially useful one.

The benefits available to disabled people for sharing our stories, experiences, and feelings are fairly familiar. It’s the negatives people tend to forget, but that are constantly on disabled people’s minds, precisely because they are so common and cut so deep so often.


For a start, constantly retelling our disability stories can be a seductive trap. We tell it again and again, sometimes on request, or else in search of some resolution that never comes. We stagnate or worse, spiral further into depression and trauma. Also, other people’s curiosity about disability and disabled people’s stories tends to have a very short shelf-life. While they start out craving answers and compelling narratives, most people quickly get sick of them, especially if they fail to fascinate or uplift. Regardless, fixation on our own personal stories also makes it less likely that we will discover the broader disability community and disability issues, and that is a real loss.

Another problem is that many of us quickly come to realize how easily the visibility we craved for so long, and we finally seem to be getting, can be misused, no matter how carefully we craft our messages. As any disabled person who has addressed a political audience can attest, you never know just how much of your specific message gets through, and how much is drowned in a sea of sentimental responses to our very presence. Do audiences come away with a new understanding of health care, or home care, or accessibility? Or do they leave uplifted or amazed at how articulate the disabled speaker was, and how brave?

The most important thing to remember, but so many people miss, is that sharing our stories and educating people about disability always costs us something. The novelty of attention and praise eventually wears off, and you find yourself giving and giving, with little in return. Even if you are being paid … and far too many disabled public figures aren’t paid for what they give … sharing yourself, your passion, and your hopes with strangers takes a toll. And even the best audiences have little ability to give back.

Yet, disabled people are often expected to share our stories and enlighten others on disability matters ... as if it’s our unique duty and special mission in life as people with disabilities. A calling is a personal choice. A duty is more of an imposition. A lot of people don’t understand the difference. On the personal level, friendly curiosity about our disabilities can quickly turn to sour resentment when we don’t immediately satisfy it. And demanding to be “educated” is often used as a “put up or shut up” answer to being called out for accessibility failures or other kinds of ableism. If we don’t agree to open ourselves up at all times and give free education, then ongoing ableism is implied to be our fault.

So, when is it okay, and when is it inappropriate to ask disabled people for their stories, or for help on disability issues?


Obviously, it depends partly on what kind of relationship you have with the disabled person. It’s rarely if ever appropriate to ask a disabled person you don’t know to tell their story, or explain intricacies of the disability experience to you. Asking a coworker or casual acquaintance may be alright, if you do it with care and listen for signs of receptiveness or reticence. You can deepen your relationship with family or close friends with disabilities, by inviting them to share deeper experiences and feelings. But this kind of closeness should never be mistaken for open-ended permission. Having a family or professional connection to disability isn’t a special permit to pry. Neither is having a disability yourself. A disabled person may trust you more if you’re disabled too,, but your disability status doesn’t guarantee access.

It also depends on the time and setting. Certain subjects and avenues of conversation are appropriate in some places and occasions, out of place in others, and totally bizarre or even creepy in still others. Think of how doctors and lawyers feel when people at cocktail parties ask them for medical or legal advice. It’s often like that for disabled people. We feel like everyone’s public encyclopedia of all things disability. No place is taboo, no subject off limits. At any moment, we can be prayed over in the frozen foods aisle, asked in a coffee shop how we have sex, or grilled in the lunchroom on which disability terminology we use.

If you want to engage with disabled people, and learn about disability issues and culture, that’s great! Please do both. But remember that each disabled person is an individual, and we each make our own decisions, using our own criteria, for when and how we want to share, explain, and educate others, from perfect strangers to those closest to us.

In the end, sorting the good from the bad, the appropriate from the burdensome, isn’t that complicated after all. It’s a bit like intimacy and consent. Talking about disability with disabled people can be enormously rewarding for both parties, but only when the disabled person is a willing participant. While some of us consciously choose to be as open and forthcoming as possible, none of us feels that way all of the time.

Above all, no disabled person should ever feel obligated to share, or shamed for not sharing. this is also my school of philosophy . as a Public policy diversity and inclusion expert I celebrate diversity in full.