Sarah Kayoga (Project Intern)
The Champion Route Foundation: Building a future for disabled children in Uganda
The Champion Route Foundation (TCR) is an organization based in Uganda. It was founded 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.
TCR’s main objective is to assist in mitigating 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. TCR helps in providing tools for training and socioeconomic empowerment with the intention of improving the standards of living for these children and their families.
Director of TCR, Monic Rwaheeru, 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”.
TCR has involved itself in raising awareness on the rights of disabled children in Uganda to curb these myths.
Some of the organization’s current short-term interventions include identifying children with disabilities, carrying out home visits to assess their needs to enable mobilization of the right resources, and holding regular community dialogues for stakeholders in raising awareness of these children’s challenges and needs. The organization also gives psychosocial support to families and caregivers, engaging and training families and care givers in acquiring business skills with the intention of supporting them to pursue independent living and economic freedom.
In the longer term,TCR seeks to involve community health centres in pre-conception care through providing folic acid supplements, to build an inclusive kindergarten to take care of early childhood educational needs for disabled children while preparing them for mainstream schooling, and to take care of their sexual reproductive health. They also plan to develop a skills centre that will focus on improving and developing the children’s talents and gifts, to include art and craft for their caregivers as a way to improve their financial capacity, and to mobilize for assistive devices to enable them to move and thrive.