19 December 2012

Uganda: Girls With Disabilities Showcase Talent, Defy Stereotype

With the help of a guide, the blind danced, while those with physical disabilities tempted to abandon their crutches and wheelchairs to keep pace with the music. The children were not left out; they too had a great time at the bouncing castles.

That was the ambience at Makerere University Business School playground, Nakawa at the open day for teenage girls with disability last Sunday.

The event that was organised by Teenage Girls Forum together with Young Enterprising and Able drew a crowd of young girls, women with disabilities and various organisations working with people with disabilities.

The handmade products on display during the event included jewellery, tablecloth etc

Victo Nalule, the founder of Young Enterprising and Able, said the open day was aimed at empowering special needs teenage girls to discover and nurture their potential to lead meaningful lives.

"Disability is not inability. The teenagers in wheelchairs or on crutches are agents of change and can help other people achieve greater things," Nalule said.

Lilian Mugisha, the founder of Teenage Girls Forum, warned parents against neglecting children with disabilities. "Teenagers with disabilities are job creators and while they work and interact with able-bodied teenagers they learn a lot," said Mugisha.

She added that the open day would be held annually as a forum to roll out projects that would equip such girls with practical skills and help build their self-esteem.

During the open day, the girls displayed handcrafts that included jewellery, tablecloths, garments, pastries such as samosas and baked goods like cakes.

Guests share a light moment as they discuss projects that can help people with disabilities

After lunch the guests and the teenagers took time off to interact, network and discuss the different projects.

Sylvia Kalungi, a blind teenager working with Centre for Children with Disabilities in Lutete on Gayaza Road, said although she could not see what was going on, she felt such an open day was one way of encouraging the disabled girls who oftentimes are discriminated against in society.

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