For State Parties, Government policy states, “The government shall guarantee equal access for all to a single system of education that will cater for the needs of all learners within an inclusive environment which is pedagogically sound, psychologically acceptable and socially valid”.
Children who lost a family member as a result of a mine/Explosive Ordnance blast, or who were living in a family with an adult survivor, also faced considerable challenges from the loss or impairment of the care giver or the household breadwinner. Educational opportunities were lost due to the burden of school fees or the child’s need to work to support family income.
Blast and fragmentation traumatic injuries to children survivors subjected them enduring lifelong difficulties accessing education, livelihood opportunities and, like many vulnerable children with disabilities, were subjected to violence, abuse and exploitation.
Most children who survived a mine or other explosive ordnance accident suffered terrible injuries that affected them permanently. Permanent injuries became a barrier and insecurity to everyday activities like walking to school, visiting friends, going to market, looking after animals, swimming in the river and playing sports. Majority with permanent injuries living in rural settlement gave up hope for their future, stopped playing with friends and going to school.
Equally, adversely affected are children of adult victims or survivors of landmines or explosive ordnance.
Dysfunctional environments undermine the capabilities of people with disabilities and adversely impact on their, as well as their families’ ability to live full and productive lives. Most of the children survivors or children of adult survivors and victims are now adults between 20 and 40 years of age.
Suffering amputation designated explosive ordnance survivors persons with disabilities. In reality, a lot of disabled people do not have the opportunity to get the appropriate education, due to poverty and illiteracy in their family. The free benefits do not reach the villages because children are not registered after birth and the families do not know they are entitled to government provisions. Also, children will be sent away from schools because the school cannot provide the care needed and parents don’t know how to ask for special education or where else to go to. Children who do get enrolled in the normal schools are often neglected and are sitting in the back of the class without a possibility to learn at their own speed. Again, parents are not raising their voice to change this, because they risk being sent away. Equally, only 9% of disabled children in Uganda enrol in primary school and of those 94% dropout because of inaccessible premises and negative attitudes of teachers.
As a result, Uganda’s disabled children are falling far behind their peers, setting them up for lives of exclusion and poverty and running contrary to the rights guaranteed to them in the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, of which Uganda is a signatory.
Loss a limb an infant, five (5) years old going to fetch water at the well. After successful surgery and other medical rehabilitation, was able to walk with the help of artificial limb provided by the Hospital.
Parents took her to boarding school because they desired quality education for her. Recently completed Uganda Certificate of Education (U.C.E) at Koro Secondary School. Currently home helping family in the garden during this pandemic. Desire to join a vocational skills training in order to learn a trade that will provide occupation for future.
Growing up with limb loss was not so discomfiting in terms of her social life since her families, peers at school and community wholly accepted her the way she was. She is hoping that she will be able to continue living positive even as she prepares to encounter uncharted territories entering adulthood. Disability and segregation she never had to face but has heard persons with disabilities express pain of discrimination.
“It is not up to me, but my appeal to our government is to consider lending survivors of explosive ordnances and landmines a helping hand to cope with the difficult past we have gone through. “
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.