Disability discrimination is a worldwide problem, but education can change attitudes. UK charity Motivation has launched their Motivation All-Stars Appeal, with the hopes sport and education can end stigma.
Independence and autonomy over our own lives is what everyone craves. However, when it comes to disability, people’s attitudes and understanding of disability can take away independence.
Fred Semakula works with disabled children and young people in Uganda, helping to change attitudes through education and sport. “When it comes to education, a disabled child isn’t given priority to be taken to school by their family,” says Fred.
“In most cases the discrimination is accelerated by community beliefs… this discrimination means that many disabled children will never be able to attend school.”
However, since 1991 Motivation has been working in developing countries to create robust wheelchairs that are suitable for rough terrain. The team at Motivation instantly saw how a wheelchair could change a life.
Now, their Motivation All-Stars Appeal is using sport and play to break down stigma and the barriers young disabled people face in Uganda.
Fred works to help identify children who require assistive technology and refers them to services, which provides wheelchairs. Through the Appeal, Fred is now tasked with advancing knowledge of disability.
“We have been creating awareness in schools by providing basic training to teachers on how to be inclusive in the classroom,” emphasises Fred.
“So they will have some understanding of the support needs and learning needs of any disabled children in their school. With this training teachers can provide equal opportunities for non-disabled and disabled children.”
For years, Motivation has been helping to train parents and carers to have the skills and knowledge of how to best support their disabled children. Now, through sport, Fred and his team look set to break down more barriers.
Sport can bring everyone together, and disability sport has never been more poignant. The Appeal will see sports clubs opening and running sports days open to the entire community, the first of it’s kind to operate in Uganda.
Fred continues: “When parents and community members see what a child can do in a wheelchair, what they can do with a ball – that’s the beginning of them seeing potential, too.
“If they are left in the home, parents have the belief that children will not be useful, and then everybody will only see this.
“Sport can be the starting point for a community seeing what disabled children can do.”
Everyone has the potential to succeed, but not everyone has the opportunity. Fred and Motivation are dedicated to ensuring all young disabled people in Uganda have the chance to reach their full potential.
The Motivation All-Stars Appeal is set to change perceptions and, hopefully, end discrimination through sport and education.
Fred concludes: “If each and every person can understand that it’s a collective effort to improve the lives of disabled people, then the future will be accessible.”
You can help a child in Uganda today and learn more about the Motivation All-Stars Appeal by visiting the website.Give today here – or before 3 March 2020 – and your donation to the All-Stars Appeal will be doubled by the UK government.