By Martha John Savio/Kitgum Uganda
Persons living with disabilities in Kitgum district had asked their representative to seek for all possible ways to close various challenges affecting them especially communication.
In a meeting yesterday (Thursday) at Kitgum District hall the (NUWODU) National Union of Women with Disability of Uganda, a number of challenges were raised pertaining to women and girls with disability.
The challenges outlined included communication gap to express themselves and at times neglect especially at health facilities and police stations, lack of transportation to reach the district when called for; domestic violence in all forms including sexual assault, land wrangle, stigmatization from the community which makes them to be left out even though there are some productive group formation that needs people with disability to join.
Akello Hilder, a sign language interpreter at Glory children with special needs Kitgum said due to poor management the school had collapsed and the girl child is not supported since most of such schools are outside Kitgum District and relatives see as waste of money which has made many to be child parents, child laborers in various ways carrying heavy domestic works and worst of it, some have joined sex works.
She added that the remaining few have joined some institutions but needed her help to interpret sign language but she is faced with difficulty in transport which is hectic to locate all the various institutions where they are.
Meanwhile Ayo Rhoda, councilor of women with disability said according to the constitution of Uganda article 35 states that people with disability has the right of knowledge and communication which is a gap that is not followed in most cases.
Mr. Okello James Pa Okidi, Kitgum District community development officer urged the NUWODU representative to acquire an office within Kitgum District for effective planning of all activities needed to support the women and girls with disability including recruiting sign language interpreters rather than relying only on one interpreter yet there are various institutions that need more sign language interpretation like schools, hospitals, police among others.
In response Mrs. Aciro Susan, NUWODU program coordinator said most of their duties were interfered with the corona lockdown since they operate in five districts within Uganda and they are supported by United Nations women with 128,000,000/= (UgShs) to budget for two districts of Kitgum and Tororo which is to benefit 140 girls and women with disability 70 from each of the two districts.
She expressed worry that by December the project will come to an end yet they have just resumed work activities in June and most of the gaps facing women and girls with disability have not yet been closed.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Tereza Aleba, NUWODU Board Director said at least in phase one the project had empowered 161girls and women with disability in which 18 from Kitgum,23 from Kampala,60 from Amudat and 30 from Tororo districts respectively.
She said women and girls are made aware of their rights and are able to identify, report cases involving gender based domestic violence and speak for themselves and over 20 cases of violence were reported during the project period.
There is high level of self-esteem among women and girls living with disability that has improved their political participation by 93%, 44 from Kampala, 20 from Kitgum, 12 from Amudat, 9 from Kasese and 8 from Tororo as a result of mentorship and active participation in politics and business skills that benefited 194 women and girls with disability.