Enabling Decent Living for the Differently Enabled

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“Doing anything here has been very difficult for me and my brother. From trying to leave and enter the house, to getting water and then trying to bathe. It has been like a nightmare”, says 18-year-old Omoto Enoka.

Like his elder brother, Denis, with disabilities, Enoka uses a wheelchair for mobility around the family. The two brothers come from a family of ten siblings, three of whom are differently enabled.

Denis with full mobility but suffering from a height growth challenge shares the frustration of trying to support his brother around. “Taking him to the latrine and bringing him back is my role. I have to support him move the wheels, especially helping the tricycle climb into the latrine and the house”, he says.

Both Denis and Enoka developed disabilities while at different levels of primary education and discontinued their learning. With Denis dropping out in primary six and Enoka in primary four, both can construct short sentences and give brief responses in English.

Asked about how he feels about the possibility of a new house, Enoka smiles and says “What do you expect me to say? Look at the floor where I have been sleeping. Look at the latrine we have been using”. “I will now be able to go to the latrine, go to bathe, and enter the house even when Denis is not here to offer me support”, he adds.

In agreement, Denis says that it will be a great improvement not just for Enoka but for all of them.  He says the new house has clean floors, a ramp for the wheelchair access and each of them will easily move to their rooms without any trouble.

“Now I will be able to concentrate on other small chores and feeding my birds than moving Enoka around comfortably seated”, he jokes.

But to Abeno Betty, their mother and resident of East Cell, Tubur Town Council, Soroti district; getting a new house and latrine with disability access means a lot. “I am so happy that God has remembered my family given the situation we have been staying in. I can only pray every day that God protects the people who have made this possible”, says Betty.

Betty’s new house has been made possible through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Uganda and the Integrated Community Resilience project.

Betty says she was struggling to ensure that her two sons live in a decent environment. She had to constantly smear the sleeping areas with mud and dung to reduce the dust, clean their hut on a daily basis, and also make water nearest to them so they could bathe.

The single mother says “Life will not be the same again”.