Being Untaught: How NGO Field Workers Empower Parents of Children with Disabilities in Dadaab

  • Allyson Krupar Pennsylvania State University
Keywords: Dadaab, INGOs, parents of children with disability, parental involvement, family literacy, empowerment, refugee, Kenya


Roughly 350,000 refugees, over 90% of them Somali, lived in five sprawling camps in Dadaab, Kenya in 2015. In the Dadaab refugee camps, families had unique experiences of disability, education, womenΓÇÖs roles, and involvement with International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) programming. INGOs provided a variety of basic services including education such as the program analyzed here for parents of children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities in the refugee camps faced social stigma and lacked access to education. This research draws on practices and literature in family literacy and parental involvement programming to explore how one NGO training sought to empower women learners to send their children with disabilities to school in Kambioos, the smallest and newest refugee camp in Dadaab. Using ethnographic methods, one training program involving parents and children was video-taped. The video was used as a cue to interview field workers about how the training empowered parents, particularly mothers. The study found that empowerment of women through training for parents of children with disabilities centered on parentsΓÇÖ interaction with formal schools and engagement in their communities.

Author Biography

Allyson Krupar, Pennsylvania State University
I am a PhD Candidate in the Dual-Title program, Adult Education and Comparative and International Education in Learning and Performance Systems and Educational Policy Studies.