September 13, 2010
Mary Bizike Nalongo
Iam Mary Bizike Nalongo,the Director Uganda Disabled Women's Association p.o.box 3368 kampala,am a mother of 9 with twins.
Iam a wheel chair engineer from the university of san fransisco in 1998 and am 60 years.
I do have over 36 years experience of working with people with disabilities and am the founder of the disability movement in Uganda. We started the above association where am now the Director in 1986 at the time when it was very difficult for women with disabilities to come up with such an initiative.A round that time Uganda had just been liberated and the rights of women particularly the most vulnerable disabled were so much violated,we were neglected by our own families,alot of things could not be exposed to us,but being that i always dreamed of helping my fellow women with disabilities to acquire education,because a round that time,one of my family members wrote to my funder at that time that i should not continue with formal education since children with disabilities are not of any help to the african families but my funder wrote to our family seeking clarification about what she had been informed about,letter reached my father 3 months later since in the mid 1960's information would take time to reach destination,but in responce my father wrote to the funder and requested that i proceed with formal education but the one to post the letter was the very person who wrote to the person paying my schoool fees and altered the letter and requested that she should be taken to the village schools where we would be taught craft works.I joined craft works training amidst alot of pain but i started selling fish while studying and as time progressed,i teamed up with my fellow trainees at the institute and we started a disabled organisation of our selves,it was a tight period but we were resilient.Then after some time,we got an invitation to attend some meeting in Tanzania in June 1986,we had no transport but i went and talked to the minister incharge of rehabilitation and we secured 2 airtickets.and one other NGO gave us also two more tickets here we fielded 4 members to that meeting.
In the meeting it was resolved that we start up umbrella organisation that govern people with disabilities in the respective east African countries at that time.I stood on behalf of my fellows we had left in Uganda and said for Uganda,we will need to go back and all of us in Uganda Participste,My friends we went with were very anoyed and said am a very bad person,but i would not let that happen,we came back in Uganda and we started mobilisation for fellow PWD's but it was hard since it faced objection by those who were in Tanzania meeting but i used my money i used to get from selling fish and we would organise meeting and all we on well and we had the first interim committee and on like that we started looking for funds and the organization grew and it was our umbrella to date how ever it is surprising to note that up this time this board members of this organization can not even talk about me as founder member.
How ever i have now concetrated on the one we had startedc ealier on in 1986 and as we talk we have carried out diffirent projects and am the only one remaining,all my friends with whom we were in the struggle have died of HIV/AIDS and we are embarking on mitigating the impacts of the pandemic among the most vulnerable.
We have a drama group composed of people with disabilities sensiting on HIV/AIDS,programmes of enabling children of people with disabilities and children with disabilities acquire education,physiotherapy,supply of relief,Community gardens for people with disabilities,and enviromental protection programmes.
Please i call upon all of you members to join hands nad llok beyong disabilities,focusson capabilities and expand possibilities of the most vulnerable women world wide.