Home Institution

Oregon State University

Publication Date

Fall 2021

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


I stepped into the SIT Multiculturalism and Human Rights program as a pre-physical therapy student with experience working and volunteering in the disability rights arena. Striking personal encounters with Moroccans combined with these past experiences drew me to investigate how social and cultural factors influence access to healthcare for people with disabilities. I hypothesized that access to medical care is limited by social or cultural mindsets, perceptions, or beliefs for those in my target population. This subject is relevant to Morocco as a developing country and as a society with, in some cases, fixed social dynamics, while in other areas defined by rapidly changing and fluid social dynamics. Research from nearly a decade ago (2014) shows that 6.8% of the Moroccan population has a disability; a different survey from the same year states 9.5% of adults (whether the difference in percentage is because one includes children or because of disparities in obtaining data is not clear, both are quite possible). In addition to this, physical impairment will touch a majority of people at some point in their life, whether that be from accident, war, aging, or other reasons, so not only health professionals or legislators benefit from timely information in this area, but nearly every family in North Africa and the world. In a country with one kinesiotherapist for every 2,000 children with a disability, access to resources is a pressing issue.

Over the course of one month, I interviewed people with disabilities, healthcare professionals, and leaders of NGOs as well as conducted observations in therapy sessions, public places, and clinics and care centers. From this qualitative research I hoped to find insights into the struggles of children and adults living with a disability, and what holds them back from living full, healthy lives. This was a basic study, not in-depth, but still sufficient to reveal important clues as to the action steps needed to support this minority population’s well-being and rights.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Disability Studies | Health Policy | Health Services Research | Kinesiotherapy | Medicine and Health | Physical Therapy | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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