HIJRA with the support from MTI assessed 172 children with disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spinal Bifida to Physical, hearing and visual impairments in Nakivale Settlement Camp. This was done as part of HIJRA’s 2017 community services implementation plan under psychosocial support to strengthen the most vulnerable persons of concern especially people with disabilities (PWDs) within the camp. Wheel chairs and visual appliances were distributed to the physically impaired children whereas the rest were educated on the different physiotherapy exercises and nutritional support they need to maintain a normal life.
Most children with disabilities living within the settlement are from poor backgrounds and therefore they are frequently trapped in a vicious cycle of exclusion from society. Their physical, mental and emotional developmental processes are viewed as a curse within the family and most of them are neglected by their parents and care givers. Without appropriate assistive devices, psycho-education to their parents and care givers, such children often lack the means to participate in education, socialize and training programmes for independent living and contribution to the development process. Ninety per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school, according to UNESCO and on average, 19 per cent of less educated people have disabilities, compared to 11 per cent among the better educated.
During the activity, the parents were educated and trained on psycho-education through guidance on the care for their children. “It is through this empowerment that the parents are equipped with the skills and knowledge about their children’s conditions and disabilities hence learning how to take better care for them,” says Jimmy Nyeko, Psychosocial officer, “They have also promised to take good care of the equipment handed over to them.”
HIJRA will continue to work in partnership with the parents and care givers to maintain the quality of life of children with disabilities till they are in position to live an independent life free from stigma and discrimination.