"I can use my experiences with Kim to inspire other parents of children with disabilities."

Susan lives in Uganda with her three children. She became a mother at a young age, giving birth to her eldest child Kim when she was just seventeen. Kim is now a happy and healthy nine year old. But life hasn't always been easy for the family...

When Kim was just three years old, he endured a serious bout of malaria that resulted in a stroke. The right hand side of his body is permanently damaged and his leg is paralysed. For a long time, Kim was able to attend school where he made lots of friends, and enjoyed socialising and learning. However, last year he had a convulsion which was so severe he was left unable to speak.

Because he no longer had the ability to verbally communicate or walk unaided, Susan made the difficult decision to remove her son from school.

People say they think I am being cursed.

Before they knew it, the family was ostracised by their relatives and local community who could not accept Kim's disability.

"I don't feel like I have a home," Susan told us. "My family have left me - they say Kim is not their blood. They had never seen a child like him in the family and said I should take him to where he belongs... People say they think I am being cursed."

With her friends and family unwilling to support her or understand Kim's disability, Susan felt isolated, lonely and depressed. She chose to relocate and start a fresh, somewhere she could build a new life for her children."

"I had to start living on my own," she explained. "I had to leave my people. Kim needed a lot of time - I couldn't leave him alone. I even lost my job because of the time I needed to dedicate to my son."

It's all about positive changes.

When Susan moved, she met staff from Motivation and attended a training session. And everything changed for the whole family.

Motivation's parent carer training enables people like Susan to understand the true causes of their child's disability. For Susan, it taught her that she was not to blame - it was not a punishment and she had done nothing wrong. She also learnt more about disability rights and how to fight for Kim to be included in society.

Finally, she had support with practical skills such as the best ways to care for Kim and how to feed him safely to prevent him from choking.

Susan says the training she received from Motivation has given her the strength and knowledge to change her life and those of her children.

Not only has she learnt how to build Kim's strength so he can start to do things, like get dressed, on his own but she has also joined a savings scheme. Set up by Motivation, this savings scheme has enabled her to save enough money to buy a small plot of land. She says she will build a family home for Kim there, where he can live when she is no longer around.

"It's all about positive changes," she told us. "When I get some money, I spend some on the house and save some as well. I hope to take Kim to school to learn how to count, read and write, and how to manage a business. I want him to be independent and I want him to have no worries."

Support Motivation

Susan now has the skills and knowledge she needs to care for her disabled son and help him live an independent life. By supporting Motivation today, you can help more parents access our vital parent carer training.

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Photos © Matt Grayson