Background: Despite Uganda’s progress in promoting affirmative action for persons with disabilities and its strategy of using microfinance to fight poverty, access to microfinance services by persons with disabilities is still problematic due to barriers, characterised by discrepancies between policies and practices. Regarding education, the affirmative action in favour of learners with disabilities has not translated into actual learning opportunities due to personal and environmental barriers.
Objectives: The study on which this article is based investigated the non-formal and informal adult learning practices regarding microfinance that persons with disabilities engaged in. This article seeks to illuminate the barriers that a person with a visual impairment encountered while learning about and engaging with microfinance and the strategies that he developed to overcome them.
Methods: This was a case study, framed within the social model of disability and critical research paradigm. Data were collected through in-depth interviews of a person with visual impairment and observations of the environment in which adult learning and engagement with Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) occurred.
Results: Findings indicate that the person with a visual disability faced barriers to learning about microfinance services. He experienced barriers in an integrated manner and developed strategies to overcome these barriers. The barriers and strategies are theorised using the social model of disability.
Conclusion: The case of a person with visual impairment suggests that persons with disabilities face multiple barriers regarding microfinance, including social, psychological and educational. However, his own agency and attitudes were also of importance as they influenced his learning. Viewing these barriers as blockades can lead to non-participation in learning and engagement with microfinance whereas viewing them as surmountable hurdles can potentially motivate participants to succeed in learning about and engaging with microfinance.