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LIVING WITH DISABILITY

Supermarkets need helpers for disabled do their shopping

In Summary

• There are some few supermarkets that provide manual wheelchairs.

•If they do not want to provide for disabled people, shouldn’t the shopping outlets announce so to the public?

Participants during a disability walk in Nyeri town on Saturday.
Participants during a disability walk in Nyeri town on Saturday.

I suffer from multiple sclerosis, and I have to contend with umpteen numbers of disabilities, which can be both visible and invisible to the people around me.

But, they all have a nasty impact on my daily life. Unfortunately, unlike many others, I live on my own and, therefore, cannot assign others to shop for me. This can be very frustrating because I have very limited energy and get exhausted quite fast. Shopping can thus be a challenge, more so since our supermarkets and public transport system do not cater for the disabled.

There are, however, some few supermarkets that provide manual wheelchairs. But those that provide these wheelchairs do so thinking or expecting that the disabled person will arrive there with somebody in tow to will push the wheelchair and at most they would have to provide somebody to push the shopping cart (this makes quite a ‘train’!). It never crosses the supermarkets’ management that people with disabilities can live alone and therefore when one arrives, like me, to shop, they waste a lot of time to look for two people to push the wheelchair and another to help with the trolley. They normally don’t have people to help with this.

I tried informing one such supermarket about half an hour in advance so that we would not waste each others time, but when I called, the person who answered told me to come with a maid as they would not be able to avail one of their staff. When I talked to the manager, I was given the same explanation, but he was good enough to understand my predicament and provided with some staff.

Now, my question to these supermarkets, if they do not want to provide for disabled people, shouldn’t they announce so to the public.

Mombasa