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Improving quality of life for kids with disabilities in Uganda

Those days, I would even displace my anger on my child because I was miserable and depressed.
Parent of a child with disabilities, looking back on the time before participating in a program through Kyaninga Child Development Centre (KCDC)

KCDC, which operates in districts across Uganda, seeks to improve the lives of children with disabilities, not least by the attitudes of those in their communities—including those of their own parents. A recently concluded yearlong grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) supported KCDC’s community-based therapy and rehabilitation programming that aimed to help children with disabilities in Uganda’s Rwenzori region reach developmental milestones, enroll in school, and enjoy increased quality of life and access to future opportunities. KCDC hopes to empower caregivers to act as agents of change while increasing understanding and reducing stigma across communities.

The programming included support for caregivers in independently implementing therapies at home, for enrolling children previously excluded from school alongside typical learners, for kids gaining independence in daily activities such as eating and using the bathroom, and for equipping families with tools like wheelchairs and parallel bars for walking exercises that help improve mobility. Caregivers also received support in managing specific serious health challenges, namely malnutrition and epilepsy, and joined support groups related to specific disabilities like spina bifida and Down syndrome. Health workers, faith and community leaders, and parents were reached through awareness outreach meetings.

After six months of these interventions, participants reported a 25% increase in quality of life.

children with disabilities accessed individualized community-based rehabilitation services
therapy sessions conducted
increase in quality of life reported in a participant questionnaire after 6 months of therapy interventions

Helping improve the lives of children with disabilities has been a long-term focus of SNF’s grantmaking, including recently in rural Kenya for kids with multisensory impairments.