Under the US Mission Uganda-funded project, Tunaweza Inclusive Education (TIE), the Tunaweza foundation was looking to inspire career outlook and future possibilities for students living with disabilities. Students living with disabilities in Uganda on a higher percentage are considered lucky when given a chance to attain an education. It is rare to find their parents or guardians encouraging them forward in terms of finding out the kind of careers they are interested in. It is often more than enough that these children have attained an education but why attain the education if no prospects are involved? At Tunaweza, we believe it is so much more than that. The TIE project was inspired and rested on fighting notions such as these so that students living with disabilities can plan and strategize for the future they want to have.
Under this project, we took on physical and virtual career guidance sessions aimed at having students living with disabilities visualize their futures. We encouraged them to identify their areas of passion and interests as a starting point for identifying the kind of careers they want to pursue. We also took on a storytelling strategy. The strategy was focused on life after school and championed by our Executive director Victo Nalule. She shared about her different challenges and how she used them as a stepping stone to becoming who she is right now. We also distributed auxiliary aids like white canes, wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers to these students to make it a little easier for them to maneuver their different disabilities.
We had sessions on opportunities for People living with disabilities in business and education. This was particularly in Universities where we shined a light on international exchange programs like the YALI program and Mandela Washington fellowship in the United States. We also offered IT lessons with a big focus on coding and improving students’ knowledge of Information Technology. We had several schools and institutions that we focused on for this project and these include; the Uganda school of the deaf (USD) located in Ntinda, Kampala School of the physically handicapped (KSPH) located in Mengo, Ntinda School for the deaf (NSD), and Wakiso secondary school for the deaf (WSSD). The higher institutions were majorly Makerere University, Makerere Business School(MUBS), and Kyambogo University.
While we acknowledge that it has been a long time coming for Uganda to have numerous special needs schools in place, we can’t rest on that alone. Our aim is to make sure more special-needs schools are put in place but most importantly, all these schools are inclusive in their operations.