“Canada has changed my life”.
These are the words of Teddy Basigirenda, one of the beneficiaries of assistive devices provided by CanUgan Disability Support, an Ottawa-based charity.
Teddy is 41-yrs old and lives in a small village in Kasese District. A single mother of three children in the local primary school, her mobility was severely impaired for 35 years because of polio. She depended on her family to take her from one place to another and for looking after her children’s education.
Three years ago, CanUgan’s local partner organization gave her a caliper (brace) to help her with mobility. The caliper completely changed Teddy’s life. She regained her independence to move on her own. With her new-found mobility, she started planting ground nuts (pea nuts) and cotton. She sold the produce in the village market and bought a sewing machine with the money she made. She also learned how to sew. She now runs a tailoring shop in Kasese.
In Teddy’s words, “My life has completely changed. I earn money by tailoring. I am not a burden to my family. At least now, they are coming to me to help them”.
There are many other examples of how recipients of assistive devices have become independent by starting their own income-generating activities: cross-border trade, selling charcoal, trading in coffee beans, poultry-raising, candle-making, engaging in masonry, opening a carpentry showroom, and acquiring new skills.