Rehabilitation Center Brings Hope to Uganda's Disabled Children

    25 November, 2014

    From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

    Children love to play, but for some children, the idea of simple joyful playtime can seem very far away. These boys and girls may look differently than others, and not be able to move around as others do.

    A rehabilitation center near Uganda's capital is working hard to change that. It is bringing together doctors, volunteers and donations from around the world. They have established the first and only center for treating disabled children in Uganda.

    The center is called Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services for Uganda, also known as CoRSU. The people there are concerned about the abilities of boys and girls, not their disabilities.

    Disabled children often refrain from socializing because of their disabilities, further stigmatizing them, Kampala, Uganda, Nov. 13, 2014. (Elizabeth Paulat/VOA)

    On a thick grass outside the main hospital, a mix of current and former patients do something others may take for granted -- they are playing. They compete in sports, play games and even perform silly dances. The theme of the day is simply: Let Them Play. This is a rare event for children who are missing arms or legs, have physical deformities, or suffer from trauma.

    The purpose of the event is to raise money for a new playground and sports field. Campaign organizers want to make the old playground into an area that is friendly to all sorts of disabled children.

    Life for the disabled in Uganda is difficult, but for children it can be a shock some never overcome.

    Christine Tusiime is the principal physiotherapist at CoRSU. A physiotherapist often directs exercise programs for those affected by injury, sickness or disability.

    Christine Tusiime talks about the problems facing the disabled in Uganda. She says that a disabled child may have trouble socializing, or interacting with others. They are stigmatized, meaning others look down on them.

    CoRSU treats patients from all over Uganda, and nearby countries, including South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    On the grounds of CoRSU, there are areas where doctors can operate on patients. There are also therapy rooms, housing and even a primary school.

    Therapy can last from a few days to a few months. The treatments also involve support groups for parents and families. Sometimes even those closest to the child can have trouble understanding the disability.
    CoRSU receives no financial support from the Ugandan government. It depends on donations.

    I'm Anna Matteo.