‘Free me to dream’ - Disability advocacy through art in Uganda:
The Champion Route Foundation is a local disability support organization based in Mukono, Uganda. It was founded by Monic Rwaheeru in 2017 to help families with children with neurological disorders and other disabilities to live their best lives despite the myths and superstitions, stigma and discrimination around them.
The Champion Route’s main objective is to mitigate the number of challenges disabled children face to achieve their full potential in life. Among the organization’s interventions to date is the creation of a platform where the children and their caregivers can share and express themselves without fear. The Champion Route also helps in providing tools for training and socioeconomic empowerment with the intention of improving the standards of living for these children and their families.
Monic told us: “There exist so many myths and deeply held beliefs in Uganda about children living with disabilities. They are said to be the source of family blessings and wealth to their families, but because of this, they are denied medical attention and participation in school or social activities. Most of them are secluded and kept in solitary places far away from other people. This adversely affects their growth, development and general health. They are denied every basic human right”. The Champion Route Foundation has involved itself in raising awareness on the rights of disabled children in Uganda to curb these myths.
The Champion Route Foundation recently organized an arts workshop, ‘Free me to dream’, with the support of the Disability Inclusion Africa Network. The workshop enabled children to participate in an arts workshop led by a local artist, giving them an opportunity to take a step away from their daily lives and to focus on themselves, their dreams and aspirations. The children drew themselves as dancers, teachers and fashion designers.