Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Cobb


The World Bank describes disability as "a hidden face of African poverty" (White and Killick 2001 :xv). The purpose of this study is to explore the meaning of disability in Africa and, most specifically, in Kenya. First, it will look at the cyclical connections between poverty and disability and argue that social programs addressing disabilities must be incorporated into development efforts. Next, it will discuss the importance of programs which empower people with disabilities. And finally, it will assert that people with disabilities themselves must have a significant voice in the development of these programs that are meant to support and empower them. This study is based mainly on library and internet research, and it incorporates the work of several social theorists. The most relevant theorist to this particular study is Paulo Freire, in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This study also incorporates two personal interviews. The goal of this research is to discuss issues of urgency in today's global society in hopes that this theoretical reflection may lead to practical and applicable insights.