Partnering with Children with Disabilities in Uganda


Peter is twelve and is one of seven children. His father passed away and so his mother is the sole provider for her children. Peter became mentally retarded due to epilepsy. He has been on seizure meds off and on for the last 8 years, but it has been difficult to find an effective dose and he is often extra sleepy or active because of his meds. He continues to have seizures off and on. Peter's family lived in a one-room mud home which was very leaky until recently, when they were able to move to a better home due to a sponsorship. Peter's neighbors believe that he is cursed because of his disability and frequently call him names and empty their chamber pots on him. Despite this, Peter is quite funny and enjoys life. He likes to build things with dirt and he also likes hoarding small things from our classroom in his pockets!


Hadijjah, age 9, loves attending Mukisa School! Hadijjah is physically handicapped and also has a speech impairment. She began speaking as recently as two years ago, but is now rapidly acquiring a wide vocabulary. Hadijjah is a happy child and smiles a lot. She is very determined and works at something until she has mastered it. Hadijjah has learned to string beads and has begun using a manual switch to control the computer. She can write the letter H and loves singing and playing with her friends.


Jackie is a 17-year-old girl with mental retardation. Jackie's father also left their family when it was discovered that Jackie was disabled. Jackie used to be quite quiet and didn't smile or interact with others often. However, since school began she has begun to be much more outgoing and speaks spontaneously more and more often! Although she has made very little academic progress, she is making lots of social progress. We have begun to teach her skills such as cooking and cleaning so that she will be able to function better in everyday life. She enjoys attention and hugs.


Katamba is an eight-year-old boy from a Muslim family. Katamba's mother left when she discovered that he had a disability, so Katamba lives with his grandmother and his father occasionally visits. Katamba has a very severe speech problem. However, his brain function is normal and he is quite intelligent. Katamba was not allowed to attend school because of his lack of speech--it was assumed that he was mentally retarded. However, he is quickly learning his letters and numbers and enjoys showing off his knowledge to anyone nearby!


Yunusu, age 13, joined Mukisa School in December 2009. Yunusu loves playing soccer and enjoys the company of his classmates after spending many years at home while others around him were attending school. Yunusu has mental retardation and a speech impairment, caused by an illness which he experienced at the age of 8 months. He is making a lot of progress socially as well as academically, and he hopes to attend a vocational training program within the next few years.


Cedric is a five-year-old boy who shows all the classic symptoms of autism. At around age two he began to lose his speech and disengage himself from those around him. His parents took him to doctors who first diagnosed him as having malaria and then gave him a diagnosis of tuberculosis. Cedric is a part of a loving family and they are very patient with him. He doesn't speak but sometimes communicates his needs by pulling an adult by the hand. He loves to play in water and jump from the top of the jungle gym into someone's arms.