Of Uganda’s population of 33 million, 16%, or well over 5 million Ugandans are people living with disabilities. Caught in the vicious cycle of poverty and disability, they experience extreme poverty and represent one of the most marginalized groups in the country.
Since independence from Britain in 1962, Uganda has experienced a number of internal conflicts and uprisings. These conflicts as well as Idi Amin’s 1970’s reign of terror killed and injured scores of Ugandans. Hundreds of people were rendered homeless and multitudes of children were orphaned. Hidden land mines and thousands of child abductions significantly increased the incidence of disability in Uganda. In addition, absence of adequate child and maternal care as well as inadequate immunization programs result in large numbers of congenital impairments. .
With a population of over 600,000, Kasese is one of the poorest districts in Uganda. Located in the Western Region on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kasese was a focal point of insurgencies and conflicts. Its precarious geographical location and rampant poverty make the district particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases thereby increasing the numbers of persons with disabilities..
While they are impaired, people with disabilities assert that DISABILITY IS NOT INABILITY. Through access to assistive devices, many Ugandans with disabilities could pursue vocational training and income generating activities positively impacting their daily life.