In December 2019, just as the first news about a mysterious new virus was emerging, we launched a UK Aid Match appeal to raise funds for a project to work with disabled children in Uganda.  

So, not the greatest of moments to launch an appeal but—despite all the uncertainties and worry people were facing as the first lockdown began—the UK public were incredibly generous. Thanks to the support of people like you we raised an amazing £442,205 including £216,861 of matched funding from the UK Government.  

In Uganda, disabled children often lack the equipment and support they have a right to in order to live independent and dignified lives. They and their families can face daily discrimination that denies them their chance to play and be a part of their communities. A staggering 91% of disabled children miss out on primary education.   

The support of the UK public and Government meant Motivation was able to start working with six primary schools in Kampala and Gulu in Uganda, so that children with disabilities were able to come to and stay in school.  

After some delays caused by Covid, the All Stars project got underway in earnest in January 2021. Teachers and sports coaches have been trained on issues around safeguarding and how to include children with disabilities in their learning and play. Sports equipment has been purchased so that disabled children could try new games such as netball, boccia and basketball. Children with and without disabilities have buddied up to play together and support each other.   

And it is working. The school registers showed attendance by children with disabilities improved by a brilliant by 15% last year—especially on weekdays when sports and games were scheduled!  

But it hasn’t been plain sailing. Covid led to school closures, and we had to shift our work from the playground to the community. Our team and other people who have personal experience of disability have been out in the communities, visiting people’s homes, mentoring and supporting disabled children and their caregivers. As we adapted to working in homes, we took the opportunity to provide more training for parents and caregivers and help with wheelchair repairs and maintenance. 

We’ve also worked with local government officials, so they understand the issues and support and encourage the families involved in the project. And we’ve engaged with the communities where the children and their families live, to reduce stigma and increase awareness of disabled children’s rights.  

And one year on the donations made by the UK public and matched by the Government have achieved a lot! So far, 24 coaches (12 teachers and 12 community-based) and 15 peer mentors have been trained. With their support, 359 disabled children (187 boys, 172 girls) have taken part in games and mentoring.  

All this has been achieved by charities, the British public and the UK government UK Aid Match coming together to support some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people as they work to transform their lives. In the long run, our shared support will help to create a world where disabled people are included in society, levelling the playing field for generations to come.  

Read some of the stories of participants in the project: 

  • Jane is a single mother to Ibrah, who has a learning disability. She has been bringing him to the All Stars project games since 2021
  • Denis is a wheelchair basketball player and coach in the All Stars project. He loves coaching children with disabilities.
  • Basta is a coach and a peer mentor and works with over thirty children in the All Stars project.