Disability and Well-Being in Northern Nigeria
In this chapter, I examine the meaning of well-being (lafiya) for physically disabled women and men—mainly as a result of polio—who live in Zaria, in Northern Nigeria. For them, the physical condition of being lame is not necessarily a source of stigma. Rather, the disabled person who has established a family with children; has extended family connections, active social and political ties, an education, and work; and who maintains a religious life has lafiya—well-being—despite being disabled. Yet the experiences of those who are disabled—based on class background, education, and gender—also affect what constitutes well-being. In Zaria, the life experiences of disabled women and men are quite different. While aspects of well-being (lafiya) in Zaria overlap with some US Quality of Life Indices, local cultural concerns, economic constraints, and infrastructural restrictions underscore the distinctive ways in which disability and well-being are experienced in Northern Nigeria.
KeywordsSocial Ideal Married Woman Human Development Index Disable People Government Program
This study was conducted, in part, with funds from the Advanced Studies Center, the International Institute, and from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I am grateful to the members of the Kungiyar Guraga Zazzau, in particular, Musa Muhammed, Mohammed Lawal, Magajin Garin Dan Yaro, and the late Garba Hassan, among others; to the headmasters and teachers of Al Huda Huda College, Zaria; and to the officials at the Rehabilitation Centre, Kaduna, and at the Kaduna State Office of Special Education. I also thank Ya’u Tanimu, Hassana Yusuf, Dakyes Usman, and Ibrahim Abba for their helpful advice concerning my research.
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