Participants at the forum.
Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD), Spinal Injuries Association-Uganda (SIA) and Brain Injury Support Organization of Uganda (BISOU) implemented a 4- year (2014-2017) joint project called “Capacity Building for Sustainable Development Project”. This project was supported by Danish partners; Para-sport, Denmark, Danish Handicapped Forbund (DHF) and Danish Brain Injury Association (DBIA).
The project came to an end and was climaxed with a learning fair/exhibition in which beneficiaries showcased how the project impacted on their lives. These included disability sports, talent shows, exhibitions, simulations, motivational speakers and musical performances. The function was inspired by the theme “Empowering PWDs: The journey of capacity building for sustainable development project” and commenced with a stakeholders forum in the morning and learning fair/exhibition in the afternoon.
Participants in attendance were from Government and Civil Society Organizations. Some of the participants included National Union of Disabled Persons (NUDIPU), National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC), Equal Opportunities Commission, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports and Ministry of Defence.
The moderator Mr. Patrick Menya welcomed participants to the forum and took them through the programme. He thanked the different organizations involved in planning the event and thanked the different funders from Denmark for the support.
The forum was opened by Arthur Blick Snr., Chairperson UNAPD who welcomed representatives to the meeting. He expressed his gratitude for their presence and explained the importance of the meeting. He advocated that it was a special forum and urged everyone present to make a change and difference in the lives of persons with disabilities. He urged the different partners present to tap into the talents of people with disabilities and encouraged them to become experts in specific fields that they feel comfortable in.
He accorded special recognition to the project funders and urged them to continue supporting them in different projects going forward.
Apollo Mukasa, Executive Director UNAPD explained that the four year project had impacted and caused positive change to different people’s lives including parents with special needs children. He recognized participants who had come from all over the country like Lira, Kabale, Hoima, Busia, Fort Portal, Kayunga, Mubende, Nebbi and Gulu. He stressed the different partnership with different organisations both nationally and internationally and reiterated how education and sporting activities have brought inclusiveness for person with disabilities. Participants watched a documentary that showcased the beneficiaries from the four year program and how it had impacted on their lives.
Motivational speaker Meddie Sengooba a lawyer with Disability Rights Uganda encouraged everyone present with a disability to develop a niche and become experts in their field. He called upon participants not to complain about work and quit but to complain as they work and push for better facilities. He added that work gives independence and respect. He urged participants to be honest, accountable and assertive and develop a good work ethic.
Ms. Rose, a counsellor at Bombo Military hospital, testified about the challenge of looking after a partner with disability. She told her story of her spouse who got a spinal injury after a motor accident in 2006. She moved participants to tears when she explained that she had stood with him for eleven years and pledged to stand with him through his condition.
The afternoon session was outdoor with sporting activities and exhibition of different craft products.
The event was closed by H.E Mogens Pedersen the Danish Ambassador to Uganda who encouraged persons with disabilities to always work with confidence and not feel intimidated by able bodied people. He urged them to use their skills in sports, crafts and different skills they may acquire along the way.