Life with dignity

2 Dec 2015   |   Blog   |   Long-term Development   |   Uganda

Tags:  Disability Inclusive Development, disability   |   No comments

Lazarus with his family and Caritas staff

Lazarus is a 5 year old boy who lives with his family in Aminomugu Village, a rural village in Northern Uganda. People from this and other villages in Alebtong District are participants in a new Integrated Food Security and Livelihoods Empowerment project implemented by Caritas Lira.

Promoting ‘life with dignity’ is the overarching aim of this project which seeks to give genuine meaning to this principle by including vulnerable people, such as those living with a disability.

Lazarus lives with a physical disability, which makes it difficult for him to walk. He can manage short distances; but to travel any significant distance, he relies on his parents to carry him. Access to school is a challenge for Lazarus – his parents take him and pick him up from school on a bicycle.

Working in collaboration, Caritas Australia and Caritas Lira (our local partner in Uganda) designed a new project in Alebtong District to ensure that people living with a disability are included in community projects.

Recognising the limits of our capacity to deliver specific services to people with a disability, Caritas Lira referred Lazarus to a local Disabled People’s Organisation to determine the appropriate services for his development.

Through this collaboration, Lazarus received a pair of crutches, which have greatly helped his mobility. He was also referred to the orthopaedic department of the local hospital. The healthcare professionals provided counselling to Lazarus and his parents and recommended a simple surgery to prepare him for the fitting of a prosthetic leg.

Lazarus’ surgery has been scheduled for January 2016, the delay being due to the number of similar cases in the region. Caritas Lira will continue to support Lazarus and his family throughout the process and liaise with the other service providers to facilitate the best possible outcome of the surgery and rehabilitation process.

The experience of Lazarus and his family emphasises the importance of this year’s theme for International Day of People with Disability - ‘Inclusion Matters: Access and empowerment for people of all abilities’

Lazarus with his crutches

Caritas Australia’s approach to Disability Inclusive Development is guided by Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel imperative to pursue justice and promote the inclusion of marginalised people. The experience of Lazarus and his family highlights how Caritas Australia and its partner Caritas Lira are giving genuine meaning to these principles.

Caritas Australia is grateful to Caritas Lira for the solidarity displayed with Lazarus and his family and the commitment to the genuine inclusion of people with a disability in the new project. The mobility that Lazarus will enjoy in future will improve his ability to attend school and the full participation in his community – a genuine example of ‘life with dignity’.

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