The objectives of the studies included:
Data collection tools
We mostly used qualitative methods of research, to understand disability as a complex of experiences in different domains of everyday life.
Focused ethnographies were conducted in India and Sri Lanka, first day involved understanding the respondents’ daily living challenges in the home environment, and the second day involved a public life exercise where the researcher shadowed the respondent in a public space to understand the challenges in the external environment. In both engagements, we attempted to understand how the respondents navigated built structures, transport ecosystems, and other barriers, with or without the assistance of technology.
In-depth-interviews were conducted to understand the life experiences and challenges of people with disabilities, map their use of ICT in daily life, and collect data using semi-structured and pre-identified areas of inquiry.
Key informant interviews were conducted to get a macro understanding about disability issues in India and Sri Lanka views on latest policy work, and other developments in the field.
Separate focus group discussions with each of the three disabled groups (visual, hearing, and mobility) were conducted, to understand what the experiences and expectations associated with specific disability types.
In this literature review, our aim is to contextualize these in the wider arena of disability studies in the Global South. In doing so, we intend to connect the policy research with the theoretical and policy debates about disability emerging from the Global South.
Qualitative findings on persons with disabilities and independent living
One out of every forty Indians live with a disability, yet they remain far underrepresented in all segments of daily life: experiencing lack of access to information, living with scarce livelihood opportunities, inaccessible healthcare and assistive caregiving support, confronting stigma in public infrastructure and transport, and non-contextual or unaffordable assistive tech solutions, the rights and diverse concerns of people with disabilities remain underserved. While technology has been an enabler in resolving challenges in human existence, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and Assistive Technologies (AT) have mainly casted exceedingly niche solutions in response to the needs of persons with disabilities. To this effect, despite having a flurry of assistive tech solutions, most of them only partially meet the requirements of persons with disabilities at best and fail to achieve higher impact, as often users are forced to adopt more than one solution to actualise their potential. Such approaches to solution building underline the gaps and deficiencies inherent in the disability ecosystem that go beyond the challenges of underserved financing ie. limited demand side insights and infrastructure, a distance of dialogue between persons with disabilities and stakeholders and severely under-developed capacity for service delivery and scaling solutions. A consortium between Vihara, and […]
Report of a study of ICT use among PWD in India, conducted for LIRNEasia by VIHARA