"I can use my experiences with Kim to inspire other parents of children with disabilities" Susan, Uganda

Living with disability in Uganda can be tough. Susan and her family have experienced their fair share of hardship, but are thankfully now on the road to where they need to be...

Susan lives in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, with her three children. A young mother, she gave birth to her eldest, Kim, when she was just seventeen.

Kim is now a happy and healthy nine year old boy. Though following a serious bout of malaria aged three, he suffered a stroke which  hugely damaged the right hand side of his body leaving one leg paralysed. For a time, Kim attended school which he enjoyed and made lots of friends. However last year he had a convulsion which was so severe he was no longer able to speak. Unable to verbally communicate or walk unaided,  Susan decided to remove her son from school.

Susan was ostracised by both their family and local community:

I don’t feel like I have a home. My family have left me - they say he 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. They say it is a punishment from God.

With her family unwilling to support or try to understand Kim and his disabilities, Susan chose to relocate and start again:

I had to start living on my own. I had to leave my people. Kim needed a lot of time – I couldn’t leave him alone. I lost my job because of the time I needed to dedicate to my son.

Motivation provides training for parents, like Susan, which enables them to understand the true causes of their child’s disability and fight for their right to be included. Parents are also taught practical skills, such as how to care for and feed their children safely to prevent them from choking.

Training from Motivation has given Susan the strength and knowledge to change her life and that of her family. Not only has she learnt how to provide physio exercises for her son to help him build his strength so he can dress and feed himself, but Susan has joined a savings scheme set up by Motivation and has saved enough to buy a small plot of land to build a family home for Kim.  

It’s all about the positive changes. When I get some money, I spend some money in the house and save some as well.

Confident and empowered, Susan now has high hopes for her family’s future:

I hope to take him to school to learn to count, read and write and how to manage a business that I would like to set up for him so that he can be independent. I want him to have no worries.

Want to find out more about our work in Uganda? Click here.

Images © M. Grayson