Savings Group enabling better care for children with disabilities

AMURU – Parents of children with various forms of impairment in Jimo village, Agwayugi parish, Lamogi sub-county in Amuru district have formed a savings group to help fund their children’s education.

The group which was formed on the 4thNovember, 2021 has a total of 30 members whose children go to Agwayugi Primary School and has so far saved Shs120,000 cash.

David Oyet, the Chairperson of the savings group says, since most of them have children, more often than not, money is not available for children with disabilities which eventually affects their education.

Oyet says, given the hard-financial times being experienced now due to the impact of COVID-19, many of them have not been saving for the education of their children.

Margaret Aryemo, a parent of a child with disability says with the savings group, they can borrow money in case of emergencies like illnesses among others.

According to Aryemo, through the savings, they will be able to buy scholastic materials and as well as pay for their children’s school fees and other school requirements.

“Through our group, we share challenges and ideas on how we take care of our children, besides just saving for their fees or scholastic materials. We also plan to borrow from the group in case we have any challenges related to the health of our children with disability,” Aryemo explains.

“I can tell you that we have experienced a lot of attitudinal change especially from us and the general community as far as education of children with disabilities is concerned. Many people think we are just wasting money and this is majorly because of their bad perception. Save the Children has helped us change our mindset towards the education and wellbeing of the children with disabilities in our communities,” Aryemo observed.

Paska Auma, a resident of Jimo village, also a parent of a child with disability says, initially their children felt marginalized and stigmatized because as parents, they lacked knowledge of how to equally care for them.

Through the savings group, Auma says Save the Children, an international Non-Governmental Organization trained them on how to take care of the children with various forms of impairment.

She further said as a result, their relationship with their children has greatly improved because the children are no longer marginalized or stigmatized by them as parents but also by society.

“Most of the time many of us who have children with disabilities, we tend to neglect them and deem them surplus to support especially when it comes to their education. Through this savings group, we are able to save some small monies to help keep them at school. We also receive trainings from Save the Children which helps change our mindset towards our children,” Auma noted.

William Latim Alex, the Headteacher of Agwayugi Primary School says, most parents oftentimes looked down on investing in the education of their children with disability because of their physical forms.

“As a result, there have been numerous cases of school dropouts especially for children with disabilities,” says Alex.

As of the closure of schools two years ago, Agwayugi Primary School had a total enrolment of 924 pupils with 59 of them being learners with various forms of impairments.

The savings group is part of Save the Children’s Together for Inclusive Education Project being implemented in Amuru and Gulu districts.

Under the project, the organization has rehabilitated four classroom blocks in Agwayugi, Pagak, Gira gira and Jimo Primary Schools in Amuru district. It is facilitating home based learning for over 100 children with disabilities in the district.

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