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Mary is second child in a family of 2 girls and 4 boys. Mary was born without any complication till about 2 months while treating malaria intravenously that the needle accidentally pierced main vein in her left arm. This was the beginning of several discomfort and pain that led to amputation six months later on 18/04/2006. Unfortunately, she still experience painful growth of bone matter tearing through her skin and she has had to undergo medical procedures to trim the outgrowth.  Mary’s father was abusive towards her wife most times but finally walked out on the family 4 years ago after the birth of their youngest daughter. Mary’s mother lives in the slum of Gulu Municipality recently upgraded to City status where she operated a small kiosk that collapse during the COVID-19 lockdown crisis. Currently, she looks for all sorts of odd chores as domestic worker washing clothes wherever she can get hired for a few hours. At least Mary has been able to go to a local primary school where hopes to continue studies next year if school resumes. Through our referral pathway, Mary was enrolled in Children Care Uganda bursary programme where she is benefiting from full education sponsorship.

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Participation and inclusion of landmine survivors opinions in the public domain is extremely beneficial. As successfully adjusted amputees and person with disabilities who have participated in a support group often show that losing a limb/or getting impairment is not losing a life and that many possibilities exist for a productive, active life if a person’s mind is open to them. The essence of the PWDs support group is to provide a safe environment in which to discuss grief and loss issues and lifestyles integration. We ought to cultivate an enabling, free and safe environment for community action created which improves, builds cognitive and social awareness about the promotion and implementation of the United nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities with focus on article 6 (Women-Gender and Disability) and its connection to article 27 (Economic opportunities) through Disability awareness and inclusion programs. Overall, developing the income generation potential of landmine survivors mitigates the risk of instability and conflict, as survivors engage in meaningful economic activity with increased agency over their own development.

Currently majority of these survivors are either doing petty trade, subsistence farming or depending on family members to make ends meet. Yet most of them have abundance of fertile land which unfortunately lay unploughed due to the functional limitation of survivors/PWDs or inadequate capital to hire labour force. Donation of bulls and oxplough is a catalyst with potential to upgrade the ability of our survivors from very small cultivation to at least half acre which can substantially bring greater yield to invest again after harvest. When managed well, our project model could be replicated by other survivors to help them also improve on their income.

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It is a little over ten years since the guns fell silent in Northern Uganda following the signing of peace talks between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the Southern Sudan capital, Juba. But the scars are still fresh for many victims of the 20-year war.
Most of these survivors used to reside with relatives or friends but major problems piled up upon their return to their homes in the villages where immediate survival needs formally catered for by national, international and non-governmental organizations were withdrawn. Survivors begun facing very difficult conditions with no special attention being given to their emotional and psychological needs. In light of the above, my project is needed to intervene for a period of one year to equip the majority of survivors in this post war-ravaged Northern Uganda to cope with their emotional and psycho-social needs.

Effect of amputation has proven to have serious psychological, social and economic impact in the lives of human being, with people losing many physical functions and abilities that were once taken for granted. The development of major depression can also be a further complication, and therefore, identification and monitoring of suicidal tendency for some survivors require close attention by the treating team. Our program was designed to help survivors to improve mental health functioning by helping them cope with their symptoms and ease their transition from dejection to normal life. This involves incorporating individual counseling for survivors, conjoint family therapy, and psychoeducational group for spouses, children and guardians. Ideally, when families, spouses and children are made to be part of the session, it automatically implies community takes an interest hence moral support from local leadership. So purposefully our survivors network seeks to provide psychosocial and family services to survivors suffering from stress and depression.

 

 

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The recent 2014 census and other research show that disability in Uganda cannot be ignored. According to recent estimates, persons with disabilities constitute up to 12.5 percent of the 34.6 million people in Uganda (UBOS, 2014a). The 2014 census results show that more females (15%) have a disability compared to males (10%). Disability was also found to be higher in urban areas (15%) compared to the rural areas (12%). There is also regional variation in the disability prevalence. Further analysis of the Census 2014 data under the Bridging the Gap (BtG) study (2018) show that the Northern region had more disabled persons (15 %) than the other regions of the country, followed by the Eastern region. These two regions also exhibit high levels of poverty compared to other regions of the country as per the Uganda National Household Survey of 2012. Northern Uganda has just emerged from almost two decades of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency.

The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Uganda is not known. Estimates by December 2016, put it at 2,792 casualties (533 killed; 2,259 injured). It is not known how many more casualties were registered after 2016. A 2006 survey of mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) casualties in Gulu district determined that 3% of recorded casualties (1,387 at the time) were caused by cluster munition remnants. The total number of mine/ERW casualties in then Gulu and Amuru districts was 865. Estimates put Aswa County at 174, Gulu Municipality at 73, Omoro County at 181, Nwoya at 198 and Kilak at 239. This was findings in a survey carried out by GALMSG with financial supported from NORAD through HAMU in 2006.

 

The recent BgT study (BtG, 2018) reveals that there is a wide gap between people with disability and those without in access to services such as education, health, employment, income, housing conditions and many others. Though policy makers and practitioners have worked to improve the lives of people with disabilities through specific interventions and measures, results still show limited geographical coverage, inconsistent quality and unsustainability. Other challenges effecting the disability subsector includes limited budgets, policy incoherence and conditionality of some programs such as the social assistance grant for empowerment (SAGE) which is awarded to persons with disability above a certain age, and in specific areas of the country. Some grants, such as the disability grant is only accessed if the person with disabilities belongs to specific impairment categories. Disability issues are not explicitly included or stated in national development plans such as the Uganda Vision 2040 and the National Development Plans (NDPs), but vaguely covered under the concept “vulnerability”. This sub-sector still needs evidence-based data to inform the stakeholders to take informed actions to address the anomalies in this sector. It is for this very reason this current research has been undertaken.

 

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Playing wheelchair basketball afforded Eveline travels with her peers for competitions. She also had the honour of representing Uganda country in the inaugural East African Wheelchair Basketball Championship where she emerged Uganda’s best player in the finals and second top scorer.

Eveline after amputation got exposure in the new environment where contested in Miss Tourism Northern Uganda Miss Tourism 2018. She finished first runner up in the national competitions showcasing dancing her cultural traditional rhythms. 

 

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 Gulu Go Green Marathon

Gulu Wheelchair Basketball Club participated in the Sunday April 28, 2019, Gulu Go Green Marathon to create awareness on Greening Gulu. In its third edition of the annual Gulu Go Green Conference for the 2019, CEED’s rallying theme is “Carbon Offset, Our Responsibility”. Our responsibility is to act now to avert the negative consequences of climate change and make Gulu city a Green City. Therefore, the Gulu Go Green Campaign is a community’s call to live in an environmentally friendly place in line with the city’s vision of a Transformed, Industrial, Hospitable and Sustainable City.

 Amputees, Wheelchair users, crutches limpers, and all differently abled people show up to demonstrate the need and desire to green the universe once more.

Lagu Alex Wilson T47 (left amputee till Shoulder) emerged champion in the 5,000m male category. Ocira Richard and Lagu Alex Wilson were awarded Gold medals and tree seedlings of pine trees apiece as reward for topping the race.