A View from Ethiopia

The author, a professional with a disability, reports about some of the difficulties faced by disabled people in Ethiopia. Internet publication URL: www.independentliving.org/column/seifu200402.html

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by Michael Seifu (rahelmu2000@yahoo.com), Ethiopia, February 2004

Michael Seifublank spaceI am in my mid thirties. With an M.Sc in Economics, I am a senior economist in a government office in Ethiopia. Have strong interest in applied research work to improve the lives of the poor. Produced a number of papers on related issues. I have first hand experience about disability as I have one that limits my mobility.Am very much in support of the spirit of the independence movement, although it is only recently I actually started involving myself to such activities. Believe strongly in the power of information exchange; love watching soccer, writing articles.



I believe the best route for a disabled person in life is to enhance continually his/her abilities so that the individual's choice set is widened. In my country this is an awfully difficult task. My experience in life attests to this fact. I am a senior economist in a government office after completing high level of education. To accomplish this, my family helped me ease a lot in reducing my mobility barriers. My case, however, is one in millions!! Otherwise families tend to consider disability a curse and opt to hide disabled family members at home. On the Government level, the little help that exists is focussed on providing the disabled with basic necessities to life and not with the opportunities to capitalize on their potentials as is the case for otherwise "normal" people.

Even if I am one of the very few lucky ones, I am well below what I should be. Discrimination is so wide spread that it is often the case that I am overlooked to positions. Many people show you a paternalistic outlook and rarely it is benevolence. When it comes to opportunities for advancement in work I am often overlooked or people think a job would be too hard for me. It is frustrating to not even be asked. Looking through the internet and seeing the broad facilities in the West, I only dream that one day I might have first hand experience!!