Challenges encountered by married women who are adventitiously blinded in Machakos District: implications for rehabilitation opportunites in Kenya
Ndathe, Rachel Wangari
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the challenges encountered by married women who are adventitiously blinded in Machakos District, Kenya. Despite the government's effort to provide free rehabilitation for persons with visual impairment, the socio-economic predicaments have not been identified and sufficiently addressed by researchers in Kenya. Thus, their integration into the societal fabric is wanting. The study sampled married women who are adventitiously blinded in Machakos District and how their becoming blinded affected them. The researcher first identified and sampled married women who were adventitiously blinded in Machakos District employing purposive sampling and snowball techniques. Purposive sampling was used in Machakos Rehabilitation Institute because it was reliable while snowball technique was used to identify married women who are adventitiously blinded who were not residing in the Rehabilitation Institute. Using both sampling techniques, 20 cases of adventitiously blinded married women were purposively selected to participate in the study from a target population of 50 married women who are adventitiously blinded. Data were collected through face-to-face structured interview schedules for the rehabilitatees, institute personnels that are blinded and married women who are adventitiously blinded outside the institute. The results from the semi-structured interviews were manually coded and narrated. The structured interview method was preferred because the participants could not read printed materials. Data were analyzed thematically according to the objectives of the study. All the coded data under major themes of topics were assembled. The study concluded that married women who are adventitiously blinded suffered from lack of spousal companionship and assistance in domestic chores, societal negative attitude, marital tension, sexual deprivation and unproductivity in agriculture and socio-economic constraints as well as lack of access to educational information concerning them. The study recommends that the government should sensitize the public on the plight of married women who are adventitiously blinded at community level and that religious and non-governmental organizations should provide assistance. The study suggests that similar studies should be carried out with married women who are adventitiously blinded at the Kenya Union for the Blind (KUB) Rehabilitation in Nairobi. This would help generalize the findings; similar studies should be carried out in other fields of disabilities to get a wider perspective on identifying challenges encountered by blinded women not only in Machakos but in other districts which this study did not cover. Another study should be replicated to . identify challenges encountered by blinded adolescent in secondary and primary schools in Kenya.