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Who I am I?

Hullo,
i would like to introduce myself to the pulsewire community.
My name is Olivia Nakato, I am an attorney,working as Policy Officer for in charge of Ethics, Prevention, and Human Rights for IF Child Help in Uganda (an NGO which gives medical assistance to children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus). I also provide free legal research and counseling for Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities (an NGO which provides legal aid to indigent disabled people in Uganda). I am a founder member of the Uganda Brain Injury Project and currently, I chair the project's steering committee. My passion is to speak out and advocate for the recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities in general (and women with disabilities in particular)in all spheres of life... to policy makers and all influential national, regional and international agencies. I do writing as a hobby and this is an opportunity for me to further develop this skill. I also enjoy reading real life experiences/motivational stories or projects.

I am looking forward to making new connections here.

Regards Olivia

Comments

ila's picture

oli otya nyabo!

welcome to pulsewire, Olivia! I admire your work. Keep telling us about what is happening for you in Uganda.

Olivia's picture

Bulungi Nyabo!

Wow!you know Luganda!That's so encouraging for me to know. As you may well be aware, Uganda just ratified the UN Disability Convention on 26th September 2008; as such, disability activists around the country have organised a series of activities in October to celebrate this landmark achievement. For a while now, everybody in the know has been in a jubilant mood.With such precedents,I am positive that tomorrow will be better for disabled people in this country. Will you be travelling to Uganda in the near future?

Regards,

Olivia

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Olivia, I used to work for a

Olivia,

I used to work for a local Arc, formerly known as the Association for Retarded Citizens.

I am curious about several things. Do you advocate for physical disabilities and/or cognitive? How does your society treat people with disabilities?

My perception is that we don't treat them very well here. I know that before I worked with the Arc, I unconsciously put the "retarded" before the person. Mostly this was because I didn't know anyone with a developmental disability. But over the my two years, I got to know so many fantastic people.

Tim, who was wheelchair bound with cerebal palsy and had very limited use of his limbs, but was able to make customer service calls for us using special equipment.

Sarah, a woman in her 50's with mental retardation, who lived independently and came to the office to work on various projects.

All the young adults in our recreation club. We went bowling, swimming, out to dinner, and had a costume party for halloween. What a blast!

That experience changed me. I always put the person before the disability. I don't look the other away when a person with a disability, an older, lonely person, or a homeless person talks to me on the bus. I am much more compassionate. What a gift.

With love and compassion,
Jennifer

Olivia's picture

I am glad you liked the experience!

Hullo Jennifer,Thanks for sharing about your experience working with disabled people. Here in Uganda, disabled people are treated like second class citizens...as if we are unworthy of the same rights as every other human beings...so it is often frustrating for disability activists like myself...its very hard to speak out on the recognition of rights for disabled people without appearing to be confrontational. We have rigid systems and too much bereaucracy. The irony is that even where rights are given to disabled people...it is granted as'charity'and you will be seen as being ungrateful if you make an argument for reasonable accomodations to be added to it. It is a rough road...but What iam motivated by the the words of Martin Luther King King when he said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter".
Society is generally negative...they will call you names when you pass by..men will shun you...and those who have children with disabled women are shy about being seen with them in public...so you find alot of disabled single mothers here. This is worse if you are also poor...and sadly disabled women in Uganda are among the poorest of the poor.However,If you are educated, assertive and have some economic independence, society will respect you.
As for my advocacy,I work for an NGO that supports children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (cognitive deformities) with rehablitative health services...so i get to advocate for them as part of my work but generally, i advocate for all disablities though iam more elaborate with physical disabilities as that is my challenge. at 3 months,I acquired celbral palsy as a result of hydrocephalus.

Best Regards,
Olivia

Lisa's picture

Hi Olivia!

How was your trip home? I would love to hear how MUISA's WILD Program has impacted your work with disabilities back in Uganda.

Warmly,

Lisa

Olivia's picture

I am still thinking of ideas

Hi Lisa,my trip back home was great...i made 2 new friends. we were neighbours on the plane...and we are still in touch.Nothing much has changed yet since MIUSA.Here in Uganda, i work with an NGO that supports disabled children; particularly those with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. In November, we have a workshop on Inclusive Education in Arusha, Tanzania and i will be making a presentation on Legislation. Also, on clinic days in the projects we work with, i talk to mothers about folic acids. I am thinking to start a programme particularly for women with disabilities...but iam still at square one doing some community mapping to find out the priority areas.
Best Regards,
Olivia

Lisa's picture

Hooray for new friends and new ideas!

Olivia, I wish you the best with your presentation in Tanzania. Do you think the PulseWire community could assist you with any of the community mapping?

Best wishes,

Lisa

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