People with disabilities

Disabilities
 
Disabilities are a source of significant stigma and a serious obstacle to making a living in Uganda. Afrinspire provides funds to treat disabilities whilst supporting local groups to train the disabled and foster a more inclusive society. We support the work of PDDO, FPD and Hornby High School in Kabale, South West Uganda.
 
In a society where women are regarded as secondary citizens, a woman with a disability faces a double disadvantage. The women can face violence and discrimination from strangers, neighbours and even family members, sometimes being denied basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.

What you can do

- Providing a knitting machine, sewing machine or carpentry tools costing £30 can create a livelihood for a disabled person.

- It costs £50 to send a wheelchair to Uganda or to pay for an artificial leg. Afrinspire is currently fundraising to help 10 people to acquire Jaipur artificial legs.

- Every six months, FPD needs £1000 to keep its projects running, supporting more and more people.

Visit our donations or fundraising pages to see how you can help

 
In a country where becoming self-reliant is a struggle for most anyway, the disability can make it even harder for the individual to make a life for themselves. Thus there is a real need to promote a more inclusive society and create employment opportunities for people with disabilities, along with improved access to basic education and vocational training to improve employability.
 
Along with several local partners, Afrinspire has been promoting a more inclusive society, creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and improving their access to basic education and vocational.
 
Notably, Anne Kobusingye has set up an internet café which not only provides income for her foundation, but also trains disabled people in computer literacy, a much sought-after skill in Uganda. This increases their employability, improves communication and enables them to access information.

Mobility and livelihoods

At Afrinspire, we receive regular requests to help provide crutches, wheelchairs and equipment such as knitting machines, sewing machines and animals like goats which provide livelihoods for disabled people who cannot hoe the fields.

 -  Out of Uganda's population of 33 million, 16%, or more than five million people, are physically disabled to varying degrees.

-  We have sponsored 47 artificial limbs, and £1000 of materials for special shoes.

-  1128 people have been followed up after corrective surgery due to our support.

 

Anne's Story

Anne Kobusingye

“I started to find it hard to walk and preferred to crawl again like a small child. Polio was the reason behind my disability and the effects were irreversible.  

“There was a lot of stigmatisation from the people around, which was hard for me and my family. I was cursed, laughed at and mocked by people in public and by other children.

“My father was so courageous to take me to Primary School even though people told him I was not worth it. I was able to go through primary level and join Secondary School. Paying school fees was very difficult for my parents. They had to undertake casual hard labour to meet the costs, but during the holidays I realised we still did not have enough money to pay my school fees. It was hard to see my fellow students joining Senior Five while I stayed at home.

“At this time I was chosen to represent the disabled people in my district level because I had gone further in education than the rest of the disabled group. Much needs to be done to help the disabled. I decided I needed to go back to study. After two years I had saved the fees for a year and in 2000 I enrolled at the IPA to learn secretarial studies. It wasn't easy. Just when I was about to give up, the District Council offered me half of the fees so I could finish. Completing my diploma in Secretarial Studies was a step ahead in life. It made people have confidence in me and gave me a chance to attend many workshops and conferences.  

“These opportunities have opened my eyes to the needs of my fellow disabled people. Surviving is so hard and the disabled group have no voice to speak out. They are in a prison of self-pity, poverty, hatred, stigma and all sorts of oppression just because of disability. It’s my wish and prayer to transform what many people think of us and that the disabled people will gain hope.”

Anne has also set up an organisation, The People with Disabilities in Development Organisation, PDDO, following thorough research in the Kabale District about the social and economic status of the disabled people in relation to their own involvement in development. It is a charitable organisation, aiming to foster development among disabled people by equipping them with knowledge and skills through which unity, peace and development can be promoted.

Mawa and Shantari’s stories

MawaMawa is a highly trained orthotic technician who makes special shoes, artificial legs and wheelchairs for the disabled. He is pictured here with Shantari, a victim and survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Her whole family was killed.

Shantari was brought from Rwanda at the age of two to be cared for by relatives in Uganda. She was one of the children to receive corrective surgery at Kisizi Hospital by visiting British doctors in 2004. Shantari is now attending the workshop for an assessment for her special shoes and is being sponsored through secondary school by an Afrinspire supporter.

Mawa has remained working as a volunteer at the Orthotic Workshop in Kabale for the past eight years, even after the major funding for the Foundation of People with Disabilities came to an end. FPD is a large organisation of disabled people across southern Uganda. It survived the funding cut but was fading without resources.

Afrinspire has partnered with FPD and the Voluntary Service Overseas, VSO, to find a way forward. Joerg Rottmann, a business consultant from Hamburg, took seven months off from his normal job to spend time with FPD to produce an Organisational Capacity Assessment, now used for making strategic choices, changes and planning for the future. A second volunteer, chosen to match the forward plan requirements spent two years with FPD.

Edridah’s story

 Edridah


 

The society surrounded Edridah with stigma, and it was very common for a child born with any disability to be killed or thrown away in the forest or any hiding place. But this made her mother more determined to give Edridah all that she could.

 

As a disabled woman without arms, Edridah faces a double disadvantage in her society. Because of her mother’s love and support though Edridah was taken to school just like any other child. At an early age Edridah started at Buhara Primary School, which had no special facilities for children with special needs. Her first days in school attracted so much of a crowd around her.

It was not so much about her lack of arms, but many would always want to see how she was going to learn to write with no hands. Edridah’s mother had always assured her that she had her legs and feet to substitute for arms, so Edridah knew she was going to make it at school by using her legs and feet. She had already learnt to weave mats, sweep the floor and grind sorghum, just like any girl child in the society was taught to do at home.

She learnt to sit on the chair and place her book on the floor. Then she would write by placing the pencil between her toes. This was always amazing to whoever would see her. She outgrew the stigma in society, including at the school, and became accepted as Edridah. She would spend the day with others and she made friends. Her educated background, integrated with her loving home prepared Edridah to go through life. 

However, when all was normal and Edridah had dreams of continuing her education, her parents died. She had just finished her primary school leaving examination in 1994, and by the time the results came she had nobody to support her. Instead her step-mother waged war against her and her brother, wanting to sell her land. After the death of her parents, it was Edridah’s turning point as she started struggling. She had her young brother, Arinaitwe, to take care of. He also has a physical disability and is mentally retarded, but his arms and hands do not have disabilities.

Edridah was able to face life’s challenges and join the rest of the society, with just a little help from PDDO. She is now completely self-sufficient and can wash for herself, feed, grind sorghum, weed her gardens, sweep and clean - washing both her clothes and her brother – and even bathe with her legs.

 
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