Uganda Society for Disabled Children

Uganda Society for Disabled Children (USDC) is a local Non-Government Organisation (NGO) founded in 1984, committed to recognising and equalising the rights for children with disabilities. They deliver this with an innovative model of working through a national network of Parents Support Groups (PSGs) and Child Rights Clubs (CRCs).

USDC’s main aim is to help children with disabilities and their parents to access the resources and opportunities to enable them achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. USDC provides medical and educational support to individual children, works closely with schools and families, and campaigns to ensure that disabled children across Uganda achieve their rights. In doing so, USDC staff work closely with children, families and communities as well as partnering with government staff in the health, community and education sectors.

USDC impacts the lives of disabled children and families through an innovative model of working through a national network of Parents Support Groups (PSGs) and Child Rights Clubs (CRCs). Through these networks, USDC supports children and families, raises public awareness about disability and lobbies the Ugandan Government on inclusive polices, programmes and legislation. USDC estimate they reach over 6000 children annually across the country.

USDC currently operates in 18 districts raising public awareness about disability; building government capacity and empowering parents to offer care and protection; lobbying for disability inclusive polices, programmes and legislation; and through managing and sharing disability information. The society operates through a network of Parent Support Groups (PSGs) which enable parents to be more involved in changing the lives of their children and are a useful resource in educating the wider community

Each year approximately 7,000 children are directly assisted through the society’s Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) approach, which emphasises the use of locally available resources, active involvement of parents and family members and rehabilitation with the home environment. Since its founding, over 250,000 individual disabled children have been assisted in meeting their rehabilitation in terms of medical, educational placement or needs for trainings in vocational skills.

 AbleChildAfrica was initially founded in 1984 as the Ugandan Society for Disabled Children (USDC) to support children injured by the Ugandan Civil War in the 1970’s and 80’.  For the next 15 years, USDC would be managed from the London office.  In 1999, a forward-thinking decision for the time was made by the Trustees that USDC should be locally run, reflecting our value of local ownership and control.  A Kampala-based Board was set up, and in April 2000, all management responsibilities and assets were transferred from the UK to Uganda. USDC Uganda became an autonomous NGO and USDC UK and Uganda became legally distinct, but continued to share similar aims and a close working relationship.  In 2007, USDC in the UK became AbleChildAfrica and began working with additional partners.  USDC Uganda became our first and longest standing overseas partner. We are very proud of what we have achieved together in the past 30 years!

 According to a 2006 survey, 7.2% of the Ugandan population are living with a disability; 30% are children. Despite significant progress at a policy level, with the Ugandan government signing and ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) there is an implementation gap. Many people living with disabilities in Uganda face stigma and discrimination, and in northern Uganda 80% of disabled people were identified as living in chronic poverty.

With a policy of Universal Primary Education, school enrolment has reached 90%. However this is not the case for disabled children, where only 2% are graduating to secondary level. USDC, in partnership with AbleChildAfrica is now leading the way to create an inclusive education system that enables all children to fulfil their potential.

 AbleChildAfrica is currently supporting USDC in the following areas:

Child to Child Inclusive Education Project
AbleChildAfrica and USDC are implementing an Inclusive Education Project in three districts in Northern Uganda; Lira, Adjumani and Nebbi using an innovative child to child approach. This three year project, funded by the UK Department for International Development, works to address the environmental, institutional and attitudinal barriers to inclusion.

Using the Child to Child approach, children identify and engage out-of-school disabled children in their communities, identify barriers to their exclusion, and work with schools and communities to ensure they access and stay at school.  Since the beginning of the project in April 2013 there has been a 68% increase in enrolment of disabled children in the project schools, 842 out of school disabled children now enrolled in school.

We are grateful for the technical expertise provided by the Child to Child trust in delivering this project.

Improving Health Services
This project aims to improve health and increase participation in school and community life for disabled children in three districts in Northern Uganda; Lira, Adjumani and Nebbi. This project provides essential equipment and resources at hospitals to enable them to better meet the basic health and diagnostic needs of disabled children. AbleChildAfrica and USDC are also training parents and health workers in innovative and cost effective ways to produce equipment locally and in providing home/school based care.  This project is working concurrently in the same three districts as the Inclusive Education Project and both projects support and strengthen one another.

Together AbleChildAfrica and USDC have identified the following next steps and are currently seeking funding to deliver the following activities:

Scaling up the Child to Child Inclusive Education Project
AbleChildAfrica is currently seeking funding to scale up the Child to Child Inclusive Education Project, to roll-out the inclusive education model to an additional 27 schools. This ambitious 5 year project has the backing of Regional Governments, who have asked for its scale up and have made financial commitments to ensuring its success.

Parent Support Groups
AbleChildAfrica is currently seeking funding to support the development and sustainability of Parent Support Groups in new districts in Uganda.

If you would like to learn more about, get involved with or provide funding for any of the above projects please contact Lauren Watters, Programme Development Manager, on lauren@ablechildafrica.org.uk

 

AbleChildAfrica’s capacity building of the team and ongoing sharing of ideas and approaches helped us come up with new ideas we would not have thought about, such as the Child to Child project
Dolorence Were
Director, USDC

How you can help

£100 could provide a life changing surgery for a disabled child in Africa. Will you change a life today?

Donate

Latest USDC News

 

Gallery

 

 

Changing Lives through Education

See how AbleChildAfrica’s education projects are making a difference to the lives of disabled children in Uganda.  This video focuses on the impact of our current inclusive education project using the child to child approach in Northern Uganda.