Livelihood

 

Economics greatly affect a Survivor’s physical and psychological health, and negative economic situations make socio economic reintegration very difficult. Therefore, deterrents to recovery for resilient Survivors with Disabilities having strong family and peer support are lack of economic and employment opportunities and lack of access to health and education.

 

 

 

 

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Cultivation

Our organization seeks to promote community participation in a program that will transform people’s lives from peasant subsistence survival to viable self-reliance with reduced vulnerability and dependence on external assistance. Our mode of operation is demand-driven with a focus on transferring knowledge, skills and tools to improve increase food security, nutrition, health and incomes of rural communities.

Livestock

Cultivation/crop production in our community provides only seasonal employment in a rainfed production system.; whereas livestock rearing would provide employment and incomes as a subsidiary occupation.

Livestock (cattle, goats and sheep) play an important role in the livelihoods of survivors, making a significant contribution to household food and income. The basic principles of economics in livestock farming are based on smaller size like chicken, goats, sheep, costs less than cattle, require less feeds, present fewer risks, and have quick return (there is quick pay of dues because of fast multiplication and early maturity). Ideally goats require much lower investments and facilities in terms of housing, feed, labour and health care. 

 

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Small to Medium Enterprise

The combination of the socio-cultural barriers faced by explosive ordnance survivors, their lack of access to resources and decision making power, and their heavy reliance on handouts, puts explosive ordnance survivors on the front line of social-economic risks. Nonetheless, explosive ordnance survivors are also on the front line to defend against the effects of discrimination.

Today we target micro financing traditional small, medium businesses delivering useful products or services that are directly alleviating poverty amongst survivors and the community. Supporting deliberate efforts to empower explosive ordnance survivors through increased access to enterprise development and micro financing towards income generating activities identified.

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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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Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) a national non-governmental organization enhancing the socio-economic transformation of disadvantaged young people aged 10 -24 years through evidence-based interventions donated to us Uganda Shillings Five Million Eight Hundred Ninety-Four Thousand Six Hundred Seventy-Four. (UGX. 5,894,674/=) only.

The targeted youth project sought to promote challenged athletes participation in a program that will transform people with disabilities lives from peasant subsistence survival to viable self-reliance with reduced vulnerability and dependence on external assistance. Our mode of operation is demand-driven with a focus on transferring knowledge, skills and tools to improve increase food security, nutrition, health and incomes of rural communities.

Because crop production in our community provides only seasonal employment in a rainfed production system.; whereas rearing goats would provide employment and incomes as a subsidiary occupation. The basic principles of economics in goat farming are based on smaller size, costs less than cattle, require less feeds, present fewer risks, and have quick return (there is quick pay of dues because of fast multiplication and early maturity). Ideally goats require much lower investments and facilities in terms of housing, feed, labour and health care.  

The project is also investing in Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) for the youth membership effective February 12, 2022.

The Project benefitted 15 youths with disabilities comprising of both survivors (amputees) and other physical disabilities and one Intellectual disability. There were 8 females and 7 females.  Each recipient received two (2) female goats apiece. Sports activities and other recreational activities will continue to unite the membership as youth continue the fight against alcohol, drug abuse and substance use in the community.

 

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It is heartbreaking news livestock/cattle lost during the war is now being compensated and yet nothing is mentioned about explosive ordnance survivors’ plight. They lost body parts! Limbs, mouths, nose, ears, skin, you mention! Survivors are human being! Survivors are citizens of this Republic! Don’t they count or amount to something?

Survivors implore the government to critically evaluate the victim assistance clause enshrined in the International Mine Ban Treaty, which they are told obligates the State to look kindly on survivors’ affairs.

The northern Uganda rehabilitation programme massive as it sounded did not even follow up on survivors to establish their line of thoughts concerning their predicament.

 

It is not too late for survivors’ compensation with housing and investment capital for each individual in order to help economically rehabilitate them. So many have died to suicide, abandonment, mental health, complications after rehabilitation, old age, evictions and several hazardous environments.

For those who can walk with a limp using prosthesis, have resorted to the traditional peasant farming like other family members in order to make ends meet.

“There are so many adults who can rear animals, cultivate land for agriculture and run own businesses amongst survivors but lack capital. We are grateful for the rehabilitation that government and its partners have given us hope to continue living but most survivors are really the poorest of the poor.

Why can’t government for once distinguish between a person with disability and us amputees who were victims of the war”, lamented a survivor!

stories of women survivors
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“I am 27 years old and believe my whole life is still for me to make. I cannot ask government to pay back my lost limb or messed up life. What am interested in however, is implore the government to critically evaluate the victim assistance clause enshrined in the International Mine Ban Treaty, which I was told obligates the State to look kindly on our affairs. I want to be able to use my hands, work, earn and put food in my family’s table. My children should be able to go to school beyond my level of education since my predicament prohibited me. “ 

Lost right foot and a baby brother riding on her back at 5 years from devastating landmines blast. Only started school thanks to a missionary benefactor who met her school dues primary through form three since her parents were equally wrestled down living in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) camp early 2000s. Dropped out of school and would soon succumb to the pressure of being a girl-child experiencing so much withdrawn support. Found a young man and started a family. Regrettably, she separated last year and returned home with two children, boy 7 and girl 4 to live with widowed mother. Tilling the ground at a peasantry scale while eking a living.

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“I appeal to government to improve on budget allocation to this orthopedic department so that prosthesis is available for replacement for survivors and new amputees we keep receiving from other causes.

I am currently renting in town proximal to work place but I do not own any piece of land or house where I can farm or retire to while on leave, holidays or host visiting in-laws.

We are pleased that the prosthesis keeps us upright but lost past cannot be forgotten until government can openly come and compensate us with land and some capital to start off a better living.”

People who recover psychologically from the traumatic accident move from pragmatic acceptance to what we call acceptance with resilience.  In contrast, people who do not recover psychologically from the traumatic accident move from pragmatic acceptance to what we term acceptance with resignation. They are resigned to the limb loss; feel depressed and bad about themselves. We have a handful of trained counselors who have had success handling high levels of trauma experienced from their peer in the community. Evidence of the resilience demonstrated by these survivors who accepted a fate of living without a limb and not committing suicide or going into depression is a vital indicator for our  confidence. These ones have become ably roles models and change makers for those who are weak and for new  cases of amputees struggling with accepting life of disability.

Henry an amputee himself, working with a Team of Technicians making, repairing and replacing artificial limbs (Prosthesis) enabling every patients is afforded a pair shoes when they receive services at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.

Double amputee survivor wheels the streets of Anaka Town Northern Uganda to do welding and Fabrications in one of his workshops. Prior to Oscar’s accident, life was normal for the Family. At 18 years of age, while going home from the Internally Displaced Peoples camp in Olwyio, present day Nwoya district, Although it was 37 years ago last February 2, 2002 he remembers the way his life transformed then as intensely as though it happened yesterday.

Oscar opened the first welding workshop in Anaka Town in 2015, when there was no electricity. He trained over 70 youths who were on drugs, theft, hooliganism and transformed their lives over the past 6 years. Every wielding workshop owner in Anaka town was once his student making him a respectable figure in the industry. He owns two workshops where a couple of young men in Anaka town and Olwiyo Centre are employed. Oscar was elected a Councilor III Representative of Persons with Disabilities Olwiyo Sub County in the recently concluded general election 2021. He is ably looking after his family with returns from his different trades and engagement

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“A few years ago names of survivors were written down across Acholi Sub region with the hope of our plight being addressed by government. Twice these records were submitted to respectable personalites in government but attempt to get credible feedback were futile.”

Yes, we are trying to move on with our lives thanks to the medical and psychological rehabilitation 20 years or so ago. Some of us have prosthesis, crutches, wheelchairs, others crawl, and most of these devices provided by Non-governmental Organisations.

double amputee wielding