We are thrilled to announce that Rebecca Cornish was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s Honours list for services to children with disabilities in Africa. This award recognises more than a decade’s hard work and dedication as Rebecca has spearheaded Accomplish’s expansion.
Accomplish’s story begins in 2005 when Rebecca moved to Kasese in western Uganda to spend three years working as a physiotherapist in Kagando Hospital for Africa Inland Mission. One area that touched Rebecca deeply during her time in Kagando was the need for community healthcare for those who were not able, or could not afford, to make their way to a hospital. This was a particularly acute need for children and families with any form of disability. Disability carries a social stigma in many parts of Africa, and families are ashamed to admit to having children living under this ‘curse’. As a result, their medical, education and social needs go unattended, and those suffering are often left languishing in the dark recesses of the family hut. Rebecca met with fledgling parent support networks in the Kasese region who were impassioned to see social change and wider acceptance of their children. Their vision was far reaching but they were held back by the total lack of resources and any community or national support. Rebecca worked with these groups on community outreaches and saw the need for medical intervention and education first-hand. Upon her return to the UK, she founded Accomplish Children’s Trust in November 2008.
In the past 12 years, Accomplish has helped to establish schools, vocational training centres, community outreaches, medical care and income generation initiatives. One of the largest projects is RAP-CD’s special needs primary school, which has almost 200 pupils and has received awards. The Accomplish epilepsy outreach programme now provides medication for over 700 previously untreated children. Epilepsy treatment guidelines produced by Accomplish have now been adopted by Uganda’s health authority for national dissemination. Families and communities have benefited from goat, pig, and farming projects.
“Rebecca is an inspiration in her dedication to making a positive impact in the areas of social stigma, medical intervention and education for these young children in rural Africa. That so many have been touched via the charity and its fundraising, is in itself a tribute to her drive and selfless giving,” said Dr. Tom Jackson, Chair of Accomplish.