The power of personal knowledge: reflecting on conscientization in lives of disabled people and people affected by leprosy in Cirebon, Indonesia
Keywords: personal knowledge, disability, leprosy, Indonesia, social change, conscientization
AbstractThrough the voice of disabled people and people affected by leprosy, this paper underscores transformations that haven taken place in their lives and their respective communities. This transformation has been the result of a process of concientization, as these people have become aware of the value of their personal knowledge. A significant factor in this process relates to the newly assumed role of ‘staff’ in the leprosy related Stigma Assessment and Reduction of Impact (SARI) project in Cirebon, Indonesia. Drawing on personal narratives, it will be argued that conscientization of personal knowledge is a catalyst of individual and collective change. The paper presents factors involved in their awareness process and as well as changes experienced in their lives. Besides, it addresses the importance of personal experience and reflection as relevant components of such process. Reflection is given about the significance of exploring personal knowledge in the field of disability to enrich the principles that emancipatory research embraces. In doing so, the recognition of disabled people and people affected by leprosy as holders and producers of knowledge is emphasized. Concluding, deeper research regarding personal knowledge and how its transference could provoke social change is suggested in development field.
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