“We are Seen but not Recognized”; Disability Stigma and Disabled People’s Exclusion from Community Activities: The Case of Disabled People in a Traditional Community in Ghana

Acheampong Enoch, Kofi Akohene Mensah, Rose Odotei Adjei, Anthony Kwaku Edusei, Paul Okyere, Emmanuel Appiah-Brempong


Society has a way of categorising and assigning expectations to its members. There are also rules regarding the norms and processes of dealing with problems of daily life. If a rule is broken during interactions between individuals in society resulting in abnormal situation, it can be labelled as stigma. When people perceive individuals as possessing socially unacceptable attributes, they assign negative qualities to the person and results in devaluation of the individual. Data was collected from disabled people and their leaders in the Kumasi Metro who were registered with the Department of Social Welfare. A qualitative study was conducted in which Interview and Focus Group Discussions were employed to collect data from respondents.  Purposive sampling technique was adopted to select 35 respondents for the study. After each data collection activity the recorded audio tapes and field notes taken during the interview were translated into English and later word processed. Data editing and categorisation was done manually based on the research objective.

The study found that disability is stigmatised as a result of the reaction of society towards individuals who have impairments, disabled people have been given names based on their disability, disabled people have also lost the opportunity to inherit family wealth and to be installed as chiefs, and are unable to represent their communities and families at social functions. It is recommended that there should be effective public education on disability and the scientific causes of the condition. 

Keywords: Stigma, Community-exclusion, Ghana, Disability, Society, Culture and Labeling

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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