Since 2016, GLI has been involved with various efforts related to Down syndrome in Uganda. GLI has developed a great partnership with the U.S. Global Down Syndrome Foundation as well as several partners in Uganda who are involved in services targeted towards differently-abled populations in the region.
In 2016 and 2017, GLI helped coordinate and host four separate events throughout Uganda to raise awareness and open up the conversation around changing the state of Down syndrome in Uganda. Last year, we conducted an intensive research project on the status of Down Syndrome in Uganda. We found that it is a disability that everyone is afraid to talk about; it doesn’t even have a name in any of the local languages spoken in Uganda! No one talks about it because children with Down syndrome are perceived as cursed or bewitched. In reality, this is not the case. Listening and thinking with people affected by this genetic disorder is the key towards debunking the myths that currently surround Down syndrome in Africa. Through these initiatives, we can empower children with Down syndrome to access services, education and employment opportunities to lead a life full of potential!
In 2018, GLI is celebrating World Down syndrome Day by hosting an event with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, embraceKulture, Angel’s Center for Children with Special Needs, Children’s Clinic Naalya, the Uganda Down syndrome Association, and others. The event will be targeted towards parents of children with Down syndrome, and will also be attended by influencing figures in Uganda society, from the government, ministries, and organizational leaders. We will continue to raise awareness year-round throughout the region and engage in conversations that help shift cultural and societal beliefs.
By developing this collaborative of organizations working with Down syndrome in Uganda, we will help create a system for people with Down syndrome to access all services necessary to lead full, healthy lives full of different opportunities!