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Going from strength to strength: An update on our partners in Africa

We are so proud of all our partners in Africa: their passion, vision and the care they give disabled children and their families. It has been a privilege to work with them for the past 15 years and wonderful to see how much these organisations have grown, as well as the differences they are making in the lives of so many children and the wider community.


Accomplish’s trustees recently hosted an online conference with our partner organisations in Uganda and Malawi. It was great to be able to introduce people who did not yet know each other and to share success stories and challenges. Below, we share an update on each organisation’s work.


RSNF: Income generation and special needs education


The Rwenzori Special Needs Foundation (RSNF) is based in the Fort Portal region of Uganda and runs a vocational training centre as well as several agricultural initiatives to enable families earn money.

Income generated by growing and selling crops and keeping livestock helps families meet the financial implications of caring for disabled children. Families have used the money to build homes, buy beds and send their children to school (in Uganda all schools charge fees.)


So far, 169 families have been growing crops and another 30 will join the project this year. Two families are working together to plant crops in their community on a larger scale and if this initial trial is successful, more could follow suit.


Meanwhile, 190 families are keeping pigs. Every family involved in the pig project must give a piglet to another family with a disabled child, which enables the initiative to keep growing.


RSNF’s vocational training centre has taught hairdressing, tailoring or knitting to 189 disabled students.


When they graduate, students receive professional equipment such as a sewing or knitting machine to enable them to start work and 80% of recent graduates are currently in work.


RSNF’s courses are ‘level one’, which is the academic equivalent of Uganda’s primary school certificate. The school is exploring the possibility of running level two and three courses (equivalent to GCSEs and A-levels in the UK) and many former students have expressed an interest in returning to continue their education.


KCDC: Engaging with fathers


The Kyaninga Child Development Centre (KCDC) offers occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, and nutritional advice. It has a school, a goat dairy and a wheelchair mobility workshop. KCDC is based in Fort Portal (near RSNF) and it operates a second therapy centre in Kasese, Uganda.​


KCDC also runs epilepsy clinics, with financial support from Accomplish, to provide diagnosis, medication and advice.


During our recent conference, KCDC shared the challenges it faces with fathers, who are considered the head of the household. If a father decides his child should not be treated then the mother is no longer able to bring the child to therapy clinics. RSNF has also faced difficulties with unsupportive fathers.


To address this, KCDC runs a successful fathers’ group at its on-site clinic and is planning to start additional community-based groups to encourage fathers to support their children’s treatment and be more involved.


KCDC is also running weekly pop-up classrooms in three locations (outreach centres or churches) to prepare children to start school, as sometimes it can be difficult for disabled children to transition from therapy to a classroom setting.


A maximum of 10 children and two special needs teachers attend each classroom. The teachers assess the children to see if they are ready for school and at which level they should enter.


KCDC has also been working with schools, demonstrating the best ways to teach disabled children and providing support for teachers.


Through these initiatives, KCDC has managed to prevent disabled children from dropping out of mainstream schools, which had previously been a problem. Accomplish plans to explore whether it is feasible to introduce similar measures in other regions where we work.


RAPCD: Schools and community outreach


The Rwenzori Association of Parents of Children with Disabilities (RAPCD) runs a primary school whose fees are heavily subsidised by Accomplish. The school teaches life skills alongside the academic curriculum, provides vocational training and assists with rehabilitation and therapy.


KCDC visits RAPCD weekly to provide therapy input and then RAPCD’s staff assist children with their exercises throughout the week.


RAPCD also runs parent empowerment groups, where it provides advice about referring children for rehabilitation and therapy with KCDC or applying to RAPCD’s schools.


The Heart of Mercy in Malawi


The Heart of Mercy is like a large family, caring for disabled children and their parents or guardians (often grandparents) living in villages near the southern Malawian town of Zomba. It now works with 90 families.

The project has three outreach workers who visit children at home every month, providing counselling and therapy. During our conference, one of the outreach workers explained how he helped one girl to learn to walk and she now attends school.


Staff at the Heart of Mercy are learning sign language and are about to start a signing club. They have helped three deaf children to start school.


Families are keeping goats and learning to milk them, as well as using goat manure for subsistence farming.




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