Children with disabilities continue to suffer discrimination and harsh conditions in schools, according to the National Union for Disabled People (NUDIPU).
Ronald Muhima, a Youth and Children Officer NUDIPU, says there is still a lot of work to be done to help the affected children. He urges government to raise higher education quota for children with disabilities from 64%.
According to the Uganda Society of Disabled Children, 90% of children do not enjoy rights to development, protection and survival. Only 10 percent of these children get rehabilitative services.
In 2012, Uganda approved guidelines on inclusive education in all public schools, but only 5 percent of disabled children access public schools with the rest attending special needs schools.
The State of the World’s Children 2013 report released by the United Nations Children’s agency, the UNICEF on Thursday, argues that children with disabilities and their communities would benefit, if more attention was paid on what the children can achieve rather than on their disabilities.
The report points out that societies can include children with disabilities by eliminating discriminative attitudes in their education and health care.
The report highlights that for many children with disabilities, exclusion begins in the first days of life with their birth going unregistered. In this regard, Muhima says children with disabilities miss on early childhood education and start up at primary level.
On a positive note, the children with disabilities continue to show resilience beyond their disabilities.
At the Ntinda School for the deaf, Redpepper spoke to two teenagers Elsie Simachi and Frank Mutema who have overcome their disability and can now participate in competitive sports.
The students speaking through their interpreter and trainer Elias Anguyo, say sports present an opportunity to fulfill their ambitions.
Sara Sammans, the Education Coordinator at Dawn Special Children’s Centre, a neuro -development day care in Bukoto, says that children are offered occupational and speech therapy.
Sammans says the special needs range from cerebral palsy, physical disabilities, autism, hydrocephalus and microcephalus among others and require special training and support.
Uganda is a signatory to the Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Rights of the Child. However, little support is given to families towards meeting higher costs of caring for children with disabilities.
The UNICEF report it calls for measures to fight discrimination among the general public, decision-makers and providers of such essential services as schooling and health care.