Katutandike - Let's Get Started - Transforming Lives in Uganda


3 December 2011 marked the seventeenth year since Uganda started celebrating the International Day of Disability and this time round, it was celebrated under the line theme ‘Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development’. The event brought together participation from Government which was represented by the Third Deputy Prime Minister – Moses Ali who presided over the ceremony and the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development – Saidah Bumba, individuals, schools and most importantly the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) family that is in the struggle of advocating  and fighting for the rights of PWDs in Uganda and these included; National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDIPU), Community Based Rehabilitation Alliance (COMBRA),  Action on Disability and Development (ADD), Sign Health Uganda, Independent Development Fund (IDF), Sense International in Uganda, Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD), Jinja Foundation of Women With Disabilities (JIFOWWID), The Disabled Women Designers (DWD), ADNA Foundation Uganda, Action for Youth with Disabilities Uganda (AYDU), Uganda Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities  (UPACLED), Uganda National Association for the Deaf (UNAD), Uganda National Association for the Blind (UNAB), Uganda Parents with Blind Children Association, The National Council for Disability (NCDI), National Union of Women with Disabilities In Uganda ( NUWODU), Disabled Group Kole,  Arua Mental Rehabilitation Center , and KA TUTANDIKE UGANDA. Besides what we would call the ‘common participation’ we also witnessed support and participation from international agencies like UNICEF and corporates such as the Standard Chartered Bank.

Sports, poems and drama were show cased to challenge the stigma and discrimination of disabled people, and to highlight the ‘disabled’ as vital members of the community. The event did not only serve as a celebration but also served as an arena to voice out issues pertaining the disabled persons in Uganda and some of them included – the issue of having few sign language teachers in training institutes and schools, less access to public offices and denial of employment in public and private offices, less sign language interpreters in public places and offices, denial of participation in the planning and budgeting process, less access to quality education and many others.

To sum up the issues raised, we can borrow a statement from one of the poems recited by a deaf girl “ARE WE INCLUDED.” They did not merely complain but also urged the Government to mainstream all policies and programmes with consideration of PWDs and also sensitise the public of the contribution of the disabled persons since they form a relatively huge portion of the national population (approximately 6 million), empower the youth through vocational training centers. Finally they emphasised the great need for increased government investment to imrove the conditions of the PWDs in Uganda.
Ka Tutandike Uganda together with members of the recently launched Uganda National Coalition for the Deaf (UNCD) is proud to be part of the CSO family that strives to improve the well being of disabled persons in Uganda- the Deaf in particular.