Supporting disabled children and their families to live the lives they choose

The challenge

  • There are 2.5 million disabled children in Uganda
  • 88% of parents struggle to meet the needs of their disabled child
  • 91% of disabled children do not  attend school

In a country where disability carries huge stigma, disabled children face an uncertain future. Parents often face community pressure to abandon their child, are isolated from their families and are forced to fight for their inclusion.

Without support, training and the right wheelchairs, many parents struggle to meet their children’s basic needs. This leaves them vulnerable to malnutrition, breathing difficulties, spinal deformities and pressure ulcers.

Taking care of a disabled child takes time – time when most parents would otherwise be trying to earn a living. As a result, many of these families live in extreme poverty.

At just a few months old, Waldah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It's the most common cause of childhood disability in Uganda but is poorly understood. Waldah's mother, Lucy, was shunned by her family and community: "The neighbours said I had produced a snake." The pair were on their own and Lucy felt desperate about the future. Until she found Motivation.

Motivation in Uganda

We’ve worked in Uganda since 2004. Our Parent and Carer Training programmes provide an introduction to a child's disability, including basic healthcare and helping them with everyday activities. Through these courses, many parents begin to see their child’s potential for the first time.   

It also provides training and support to parents for setting up group savings schemes and developing income generating activities.

These projects have been hugely successful and demand is extremely high. Through peer group training and the development of wheelchair services, we aim to give much-needed support so even more children can be mobile, healthy and included.

See how our Parent Carer training changes attitudes

Our priorities

Our next project will be Motivation All-Stars: using sport and play, we will break local stigma around disability to ensure that all children can be included in school and in their communities.

We will set up inclusive sports clubs that give 270 disabled children the confidence to play alongside their non-disabled peers. 

All donations to the All-Stars Appeal until 3 March 2020 will be doubled by the UK government. 

Building local skills and expertise

We will provide teacher training on inclusion across six schools to create classrooms where differences are embraced and everyone has the chance to learn. We will develop local mentors to teach disabled children about their rights, empowering them to build positive futures.

In Kampala and Kasese, we'll continue running community training to build the skills of local technical and clinical staff, too. This is vital for ensuring that wheelchair services, repairs and maintenance are more widely available to all disabled people.

We’re also supporting these services to partner with organisations who have community links with local disabled people already. By running outreach events together in rural communities, we’re making sure that wheelchair users who would not be able to travel can still access appropriate products.

Empowering parents

Our Parent Carer Training courses teach simple techniques that have a huge impact on a child’s development – from how to feed safely to encouraging communication and play.

The training had an immediate, life-changing impact for Waldah and Lucy. They met other families like them. Lucy learnt about her daughter's condition - and finally realised that her daughter's cerebral palsy was not her fault. She joined a village savings group that helped her secure a better future.

Today, Waldah is at school where she's making friends. Her communication has improved and while she's at school Lucy has started training other parents. She shares her experiences with other mothers, fathers and carers, helping them to see what's possible when they have the right support.

"We have bought land for Waldah and want to build a house for her; when we are not around, she will have somewhere to live.

"Waldah has changed completely. She couldn’t speak three years ago but now she can speak!"

Addressing household poverty

By training community volunteers, we're creating parent support networks to learn about savings culture, group management and other business skills. We link these networks with other livelihood opportunities in their communities. This gives them work options that meet the skills and interests of different people in the group.

Through village saving groups that provide modest start-up loans, we're helping 780 parents and carers of disabled children to increase their incomes. This much-needed opportunity to earn a livelihood will help them to pay for their children's healthcare and school fees, and will provide a route out of poverty.

Inspiring confidence and building resilience

Our Peer Training programmes are run by wheelchair users, for wheelchair users. The training provides vital information and skills in bladder and bowel management, wheelchair handling and disability rights – including the right to education.

Find out more

If you have further questions about our work in Uganda or would like to receive extra information, please get in touch on 0117 966 0398 or [email protected].

Support Motivation

You can empower disabled people in Uganda and throughout our other focus countries by making a donation today.

Photos © Matt Grayson