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Child development centre for children born with Downs Syndrome – the first of its kind in Uganda

Requested by

Uganda Down's Syndrome Association (UDSA)

Who are you trying to help? What issue are you trying to address?

The association is helping and supporting children born with Downs Syndrome and their families in areas on health, education, social welfare and income generation. 
Issues to address

a) HEALTH: A majority of children born with Downs Syndrome do not have access to specialized health services in their early childhood, e.g. physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.
 The association facilitates access to these service to avoid physical disability/inability to speech at early age.

b) EDUCATION: A majority of children with Downs Syndrome in Uganda are not taken to school because their parents think they cannot learn. A few who attend general school are sometimes asked to leave because they are slow learners and cannot catch up with the rest of the class. There are no special schools for these children in the country. The association facilitates access to specialized educational and vocation training in order to eradicate illiteracy among the Downs Syndrome community so that they can achieve their full potential.

c) COUNSELING of parents and relatives in all aspects of Down Syndrome and its related issues including raising awareness.

d) WELFARE: Children with Downs Syndrome are sometimes neglected by their parents and face segregation among the community because of their disability. The association provides counseling to their families in order to avoid stigmatization and mitigate psychosocial effect on them.

What is your project and how will it help?

The association is a charitable, non-political, non-denominational, voluntary Non-Governmental Organization. We work as a coordinating, facilitating, and enabling body of and for individuals, group of persons, communities and organizations / institutions involved in helping people with Downs Syndrome in Uganda. 

We help in raising awareness at all levels and on issues related to health, educational, socio–economic and developmental implications of children with Downs Syndrome in Uganda, by providing free services to these children and by meeting the cost of services in the main hospitals that poor parents cannot afford to pay.

In education, children with Downs Syndrome from poor families will benefit from free education in special schools which are currently very expensive. The vocational school will benefit the slow learners who cannot excel in academics in a normal school.
 The number of children who will attend school will increase and especially for this particular case where the project will focus on special schools specifically designed for children with learning disabilities.

In welfare, counseling will help the parents to understand that the children should be treated like any other child in the family and should not be segregated. The association also notes with great concerns that the blame is normally put on the mothers whom their husbands think are the ones responsible for producing disabled children. This often cause break up of families where the husbands want to divorce their wives. Counseling can prevent divorce as the husband will understand the cause of the disability, that the extra chromosome 21 can be released either by the father or the mother.

Income generation is a very important aspect because parents will be able to generate some income to help their disabled children who are vulnerable and need much more attention than the normal children in the family.
 Besides, it will help to sustain the running of the organization so as to avoid relying on donor funding once the services is established.

Members will acquire knowledge, skills and jobs, and also benefit from free services in all sectors of the organization, thereby reducing lack of employment which has hit the country. The new skills can be applied throughout their lives, and the country will benefit from having a literate productive society.

How can other people partner with you on your project?

Other people can partner with us especially in the health and education sector, as our services will not be restricted to only children with downs syndrome but will also be open to the community and the general public who are in need of such services. The general public and the community will benefit as these special services are now available nearer to them, but they will have to meet the costs of services as the organization will only provide free services to children with Down Syndrome and their families.

Please detail the resources that you need.

The overall budget required for the center is approximately US$ 270,000. This estimate does not reflect the exact amount required as it depends on the currency fluctuation.

Please refer to the attached executive summary document for more details.

Further information

Contact details

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Partnership types

Project funding; Provision of services / personnel

Regions / countries / territories

Africa: Uganda

Global issues

Children, youth and family welfare; Disability issues; Education and training; all (6)


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