People with disabilities constantly face stigma and varying degrees of struggle to achieve legitimacy, and the absence or misrepresentations of People with disabilities ( PWDs) in the media only further disempowers them. It can have a very real impact on self-esteem and survival.
Having produced Abled Differently, which is is a magazine that gives prominence to issues surrounding PWDs in Kenya, I have managed to bring the discussion of disability into the public arena to challenge the idea of it as a taboo subject. I have featured examples of people with disabilities as providers of expertise, assistance and as contributors of financial support to their families and communities. And we have had success stories which include Sign language being introduced for news bulletin, and to all public functions in mainstream media in Kenya.
But still there is much we need to do interms of Mainstreaming Disability in Media, again drawing from my own experience, we lack institutions that offer disability related studies in our country, I have this ambitious project of training Journalism students on Disability reporting techniques, I was happy to be selected for the ADA Fellowship and more happier when I learnt I will be hosted by the Institute of Community Inclusion at the University of Massachsettes at Boston.
At the Institute, with the guidance from my mentor, my big idea has been trimmed down into something that can flourish. I have spent enough time learning, observing, sharing, visiting various organization’s that promote Disability Inclusion and connecting with important allies, and I have narrowed down to something that makes my heart skip a beat.