On 19th March 2021, we joined our member – Cheshire Services Uganda(CSU) to commemorate women’s day at Sheraton Hotel under the theme “Women in leadership. Achieving an equal future in a COVID19 world”. The event aimed at celebrating the milestones reached by women, recognize the challenges and also dedicated towards realizing the full rights of women including those women with disabilities.
Cheshire Services Uganda is a local NGO working in the field of disability and inclusive development, through four thematic areas; Education, Livelihoods, Health and Rehabilitation as well as Human Rights and Advocacy Campaigns. Its mission is to rehabilitate and empower persons with disabilities to lead a dignified and productive life. Since its inception in 1997, CSU has served in over 16 districts and is a member of Leonard Cheshire Disability Global Alliance.
As part of their advocacy work, CSU promotes and recognizes the rights of women and specifically rights of women with disabilities. In a bid to celebrate, recognize and remember women and the accomplishments they have made to society, CSU organized a women’s day event in recognition of efforts by women and specifically those with disabilities. Women with disabilities are part of 12.4% persons with disabilities of Uganda population (UBOS, 2016) and also part of 15% of the global population and quite often they face double marginalization both as women and as women with disabilities; this ranges from resentment, denial to education, abuses, domestic and sexual violence, poverty among others.
Despite all this marginalization, some women with disabilities have worked through all odds of life to make it in society for example in leadership positions at National and Local Government levels, in business, CSO sector etc. It’s against this background that CSU organized this event (#SheLeads4EqualFuture) to celebrate such women but also to rally all relevant stakeholders to commit to promoting the rights and enhance participation of women and girls with disabilities in Uganda.
Ms. Devine N. while appreciating Cheshire Services Uganda said “Through continuous mentorship, I have been able to take up leadership positions in school, the church and my community despite my physical disability. I appeal to my fellow young people to believe in themselves and seek opportunities”.
The Chief Guest Hon. Sarah Kanyike – Minister of State for Elderly and People with Disabilities called on women and girls with disabilities to take advantage of the Disability grant that government established to improve their livelihoods; She noted that most Kampala people had not pursued this opportunity despite being at the center.
Hon. Kanyike also emphasized that her office is widely open for collaborations with all actors that have designed sustainable programs geared towards improving the livelihoods of people with disabilities. She challenged all stakeholders in this country to always develop disability inclusive plans; She said “We are all potential candidates of disability. We should plan for disability in this country”.
Women are still finding hardships in finding equality in leadership and work; it gets harder when they are disabled or special persons. This is why Cheshire Services Uganda in partnership with UKAid and SWICO chose to celebrate the milestones reached by these women.