Empowering Families of Children with Disabilities in Tororo District
Asilo holds her five-year-old son, Fred, on her lap as she sits under a tree sheltering them from the heat of the morning sun. Occasionally Fred laughs and tries to wiggle out of her arms. Today is a special day for Asilo and her son, the smile on her face tells it all. She will go home with a sigh of relief, knowing that Fred's future is brighter than it was yesterday.
For the last four years, Asilo has given special care to her son Fred. Fred was born with Hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. “I have been holding and carrying Fred everywhere with me, I cannot leave him even for a minute. He is joined to my hip,” Asilo tells us as she tries to calm down Fred, who now is fussing on her lap. She places Fred down and he immediately calms down. “I usually place him on the ground since he cannot sit or crawl,” Asilo shares, “I do not have a chair to assist him to sit upright.” But today, that changed.
Just like Asilo, Elizabeth has been taking care of her nine-year-old son, Calvin, who was also born with Hydrocephalus. Calvin cannot walk, sit or feed himself on his own. “I have been carrying him and supporting him, but as he has gotten older he has also gotten too heavy for me. I cannot easily carry him now,” says Elizabeth.
But today, Asilo and Elizabeth have travelled miles from their homes to receive assistive devices to help their sons become independent. Many other parents and families of children with disabilities in Tororo district echo Asilo’s and Elizabeth’s stories - they too couldn’t afford assistive devices to help their children move on their own, and today that story changed.
Both mothers are among over 60 parents that have received wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, cerebral palsy chairs, and other assistive devices to help their children move in the world safely and independently.
“My child will now be able to sit on his own, his back will be supported,” says Asilo after receiving a chair, “I will now even be able to even go to the garden to farm.” As for Elizabeth, she could not hide her joy after receiving a wheelchair for her son Calvin. “The wheelchair is going to change his life,” says Elizabeth with a broad smile, “he will learn how to sit and stand and not bend like he has been used to and eventually walk.”
We could not have done this without our partners, community volunteers, and Katalemwa Chesire Home which provided the devices and came to fit them to each child.
The local Government is thrilled to have accomplished this milestone together. “This is a great relief to the families, the children will be able to move from one place to another with ease,” Simon Peter, the District Chairperson Council for Disability, shared. “It is a huge milestone. Children with disabilities in the district will now be able to go to school, they will be empowered and will become self-supportive.”