In the spirit of commemorating the International Day of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs), stakeholders from different organisations, academia, government and civil society were invited at the British Council headquarters to network and address challenges they face in their day-to-day activities.
The day, which falls on December 3, was celebrated yesterday under the theme ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities’, a theme that stresses inclusivity more than ever.
As a highlight of the event, Rogers Bisereko comes in as a living proof that anyone is a candidate of disability in one way or the other.
A dancer, Bisereko thought his dancing career was going under when he got a condition that gnawed at his spinal cord, rendering him to a wheelchair.
His story, however, brings hope and he soars above the disability and now he can dance again, even in his chair.
Kate Airey, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, while addressing the stakeholders said people with disabilities throughout the world are disadvantaged across all spheres of life in comparison to non-disabled peers.
“They are less likely to have a job or complete their education, more likely to be poor and experience poor health outcomes and are at greater risk of violence. These factors are true everywhere but exacerbated in lower and middle-income countries,” she said.
This is especially true with Grace Kyakuwa, who was born without hands and legs. Pursuing journalism, she said it was hard for her to land an internship.
Florence Ndagire, who is visually-impaired but a PhD student at Makerere University, a lawyer and mother of three, says inclusivity still has a long way to go.
“Programmes held on top floors cannot be accessed by PWDs if the building only has stairs, the blind cannot see the job opportunities in newspapers and even education programmes, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown were not inclusive,” Ndagire said.
To make policies for PWDs, she added that they have to be consulted since they know the gravity of what they are going through, which is rarely done.
The event that included a panel discussion, also saw a presentation from Bisereko and later a live dance from him, Dance with Valentino and Unseen Dreams.