Azizat Omotoyosi Amoloye-Adebayo
- Senior Lecturer
- University of Ilorin
The critical importance of ‘helping’ others and all it represents to the sense of self and identity represents an essential component of most religious traditions in Nigeria. Notable amongst categories of persons that are usually expressed to require support are persons with disabilities. A dominant narrative in existing literature is that religious sentiments underpinning notions of ‘helping’ enhance a culture of begging as a vocation for persons with disabilities. Much less explored, however, is how the design and functioning of ‘helping’ structures according to popular understanding privileges the helpers over the needs and autonomy of persons helped. Using Islam as an example of a religious tradition that encourages ‘helping’, this work is an exploration of this alternative narrative. It argues that existing understandings of ‘helping’ are erroneous and constitute structural barriers to the emergence of persons with disabilities as active agents in the determination of the course of their existence.