The team at Katelmwa Cheshire Home for children with disability in Northern Kampala are in the process of producing assistive devices for children living with a disability that we serve. Among the devices that they are making include wheelchairs, standing frames and walkers. During an assessment of refugee children in Kampala, Imvepi and Rwamanja, our team realised that although some children have the potential to walk, providing a device like a walker aid in the process of walking.
Each child will get an assistive device depending on their physical needs. Although the project targets 428 children, not all have physical disabilities. Some have autism and do not require these devices.
“We are currently devising a mechanism where if a child outgrows a device, it can be rehabilitated and passed to a different child to meet their needs,” says Moses Kiwanuka, Xavier Project’s Occupational Therapist. After several physiotherapy sessions and the use of devices, sometimes a child outgrows a device while it’s still in good condition. When our team applies this method, devices that are still in good condition can be used to support other children.
When we begin field visits and assessments again, our team plans to share simple solutions with parents and guardians of the children. These include using available resources within their surroundings to construct temporary assistive devices when a child outgrows the provided device and creatively producing learning devices.
In this project, the community is involved through our team of outreach workers. Under normal circumstances, the outreach team conducts daily field visits in different locations. A typical community visit would have the outreach team conducting field assessments of children living with disabilities. Afterwards, they report back to the rest of the project team and help organise an assessment with a specialist like Moses. Our community outreach team are a fundamental part of our work. Not only do they have a strong understanding of the community, but also networks with health centres. That makes it effortless for them to identify and enrol children living with disabilities in the program to get the help they need.