"I want my child to be successful, for her to continue going to school and to get a job." Lucy, Uganda

Lucy and daughter Waldah have been through a lot together. Despite their many hardships, this mother-daughter duo are stronger than ever...

Waldah is four years old and lives in Namuwongo, Uganda, with her parents. At three months, Waldah’s mother, Lucy, became concerned with her daughter’s development – in particular that of her vision and posture. Despite broaching these worries with various medical staff, doctors concluded that there should be no cause for concern – that she was developing the same as any other child. However, six months later, Waldah was still unable to sit unsupported; only then was she diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy.

In the early days following this diagnosis, Lucy was having difficulty bonding with her child.

Finding it hard to both love and communicate with her daughter, she felt hopeless, helpless and uncertain about what her family’s future might hold.

With both Lucy and her husband struggling to come to terms with their daughter’s condition, family life was made harder still by the attitudes of community members that surrounded them. Lucy recalls:

The neighbours said I had produced a snake

Ostracised and isolated, Lucy chose to hide Waldah and herself away in their house. Whilst trying to care for her daughter as best she could, Lucy became severely depressed.

Sadly, it was not only the local community that wanted nothing to do with Waldah’s disability. Soon after, both Lucy’s in-laws and own family chose to distance themselves and wanted to sever all ties. Worse still,  Lucy was then given an ultimatum from her employer: to either get rid of her child or lose her job. Finding herself now unemployed and alone, having thankfully chosen the latter, Lucy hit rock bottom and felt she had nowhere to turn.

Fortunately, these dark days are over. Together, Lucy and Waldah attended a Motivation Parent Carer Training course which had a life changing impact. This training provides an opportunity for the support networks of disabled children to come together and realise that they are not alone.

During the course, Lucy arrived at the understanding that her child’s disability was due to brain damage and was no fault of her own. She also acquired vital knowledge of how to best care for, safely position and feed Waldah, in turn safeguarding her from any further complications.

This new found understanding helped Lucy to nurture that precious mother – daughter bond and empowered her to regain control of her family’s life and happiness. Now with a stable income, Lucy decided to take matters into her own hands. Having chosen to pass on her newly acquired knowledge and skills, she now works as a facilitator at a local hospital delivering training to other parents of children with Cerebral Palsy.

Lucy is also a member of her village savings group. Group members are invited to each contribute to a revolving fund of which they are also entitled to withdraw from. Thanks to the scheme, Lucy and her family are able to plan for the future and feel more financially secure moving forward:

Because of the savings group, we have bought land for Waldah and want to build a house for her so when we are not around, she will have somewhere to live.

Now in her second year of school, Waldah is making great strides with her education and has made remarkable progress with her communication. A happy young girl,  Waldah can now both talk and sing!

I want my child to be successful, for her to continue going to school and to get a job.

You can find out more about our work in Uganda by clicking here.

Images © M. Grayson