Our Disability Outreach programme in Soroti, Uganda, seeks to dismantle the barriers caused by prejudice and poverty for children with disabilities – barriers which often prevent them accessing medical care, attending school and being valued by their communities.
What are the challenges for children with disabilities in Uganda?
Children with disabilities in Uganda can be extremely isolated, often locked away for hours each day, or suffering the effects of prejudice from neighbours and even family members. In impoverished families, sometimes extremely large extended families, it is a struggle to meet even basic needs, let alone the more complex needs of a disabled child.
In rural Uganda, services for children with disabilities are extremely limited. Even if a service is offered, many families struggle to access help due to transport difficulties, especially if a child has mobility issues.
Discrimination against people with disabilities creates a multi-dimensional challenge for these vulnerable children: They need to overcome social, systemic and cultural barriers, as well as the physical and mental difficulties caused by their disabilities.
A home visit to *Nancy showed she was being neglected. She was losing weight and had yellowish skin due to malnutrition, despite food parcel provision for the family. Working with the family, our team were able to teach them how to care for her. Six months later, Nancy’s mother expressed her gratitude, that she now knows how to care properly for her child. And our team are delighted to see that Nancy’s health has improved and she is once again responding to the people around her.
The Disability Outreach project aims to provide opportunities like this for more children; equipping families to work towards better health, relationships and skills for their disabled child.
How is Global Care helping?
Our outreach worker identifies isolated children with disabilities across Soroti district and provides expertise and support to help them live better lives.
This includes a wide variety of resources, such as:
- access to medical assessment / treatment, training families in appropriate physio exercises at home
- access to peer-to-peer support
- advocating with schools so that children with disabilities can access education, including helping schools become accessible, inclusive environments
The outreach worker will work alongside two existing Disability Support Groups, initially established with help from Global Care, and in time may launch new DSGs. These are now self-sustaining non-profit community groups providing support and advocacy for people with disabilities in two communities near Soroti; Atiira and Abeko. Their activities have included a goat scheme, a microfinance savings and loan scheme, and playgroups for children with disabilities.
All our expertise from many years’ experience of disability work in Uganda means that we can help create the circumstances a child with disabilities needs to thrive. Not only is this a cost-effective way of supporting children, it also functions within the child’s own community. This begins to shift cultural discrimination against people with disabilities, starting with increasing each family’s expectations for their child.
How can I help?
Be part of the transformation, not just of a vulnerable child’s life, but also of their local culture and communit,y by giving regularly through partnership. Your regular monthly gifts will enable the Disability Outreach programme to identify and support children with disabilities and their families across Soroti.
*Children’s names are changed and their photographs obscured for reasons of protection.