“My name is Luyima, Ivan. I’m from Uganda. I’m 28 years of age. I work with a disability organization in my country by the name of the Uganda National Action Physical Disability.  I work as a volunteer. I work with people with mental problems. That’s basically what I do. I re-assure them. I check on their needs. I have to report to the office at times. That’s basically what I do.” Read more about Ivan and his work in Uganda here…

My name is Luyima, Ivan. I’m from Uganda. I’m 28 years of age. I work with a disability organization in my country by the name of the Uganda National Action Physical Disability. I work as a volunteer. I work with people with mental problems. That’s basically what I do. I re-assure them. I check on their needs. I have to report to the office at times. That’s basically what I do.

I joined the movement from the time I was born because when you have disability in my country, you are a member of the disability movement. I had it from my parents. My disability came as a result of an injection. It gave me a fever. I was injected with a medication that had the possibility of having a problem, and that resulted in my disability.

All of the African countries, the don’t understand disability, but because of this generation, they are getting knowledge about disability issues, but previously it was challenging and still challenging when you go to the villages where they don’t understand what disability is all about.

We are trying to make it understandable to people who aren’t consumers, who can contribute something to the society or to the country, but this will come as result of being trained to inform or to teach members that disability is not a problem, but someone who has a disability, once you train him, teach him, you get output out of him, but when you just ignore someone, at the end of the day, disability will not move on and that is what has been going on in my country. CRPD for me, I understand as a convention of rights for a person who has a disability. It would be more understandable if it was written in a language which people speak in Uganda.

In Uganda we have a language that we speak but you find it [CRPD] is written in a language that is common, but not common to the people here. So if it is translated to the common language in the individual country, it would be easier for people to understand why the CRPD exists.

The CRPD is the rights of people with disabilities to have education, to have health care or medical care, not just for the physically disabled but for all types of disabled. My vision for disability rights in my country is to see that all rights for people are considered and to be made disability friendly like any other country. That is my vision.

I’m happy that I am living like any other human being and I am trained to do what other people are doing so that I live a normal life. The struggle that I work with is to believe in what I am like any other human being because I cant change this. I have to know that I have a disability but if you have a disability, it doesn’t mean that you have to sit home and wait.

You need to be assertive. To talk to people. If you want something you say ‘I need this.’ If they cant help you they hurt you. You just need to be assertive when you want something.

Written by Ivan Luyima

Ivan Luyima, founder of Uganda National Action Physical Disability