- While in teachers’ college, Oyesigye used to be scared of disabled persons
- To him, these people looked different, violent and dangerous
- But when he became teacher, he started work in school with disabled students
- Years later, Oyesigye is the godfather of persons living with disability in Uganda
While he was pursuing his teacher’s diploma at Bishop Stuart College in Uganda, Oyesigye never knew he would one day become a source of hope to thousands of disabled persons in his country. He himself was terrified of them.
But when he finished his training, his first teaching job was at Tukole Invalids School. Here, he came face-to-face with the disabled. He was expected to teach and look after them. But his fear for the handicapped was so huge that he decided to stay outside the school compound despite being given free accommodation.
“They scared me. To me these people looked very different from the rest of us. They also seemed violent and dangerous. Little did I appreciate that they are just human beings like the rest of us who needed love and care,” he says.
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As time went by, Oyesigye says he become fond of persons in the special needs community. His deadly fear gradually disappeared.
“I came to learn that they were just people like me and that they also needed love and care. Some of them had huge potentials that could be nurtured,” he says.
He decided to get actively engaged in helping the disabled students realise their potentials and dreams despite their conditions.
Helping the disabled in the society became Oyesigye’s new calling. Soon he was made the education general at the school.
His fresh responsibility included raising awareness in the community about kids living with disability. The aim was to encourage parents to take their disabled children to school.
“I went around the villages with bicycle as I talked to parents and enlightened them on the importance of taking their children to school instead of hiding them at home because they are different,” says Oyesigye.
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The response was overwhelming. It reached a point where his Centre had to stop admitting any more students as the facility could not accommodate and take care of all of them. Also, some parents failed to pay for their children.
Oyesigye went as far as paying for some of the kids so that they could continue with their education, but he also got overwhelmed.
He eventually decided to start the Foundation for the Handicapped. This was a school for the disabled kids in Ruhandagazi village.
The institution, he says, kicked off with just six kids. A year later, the number had shot up to over 30 and continued to grow.
In addition, Oyesigye opened a rehabilitation Centre for adult persons living with disability. He says he received help from the British High Commission and was able to set up an administrative block at the Centre.
Because of his work and love for persons living with disability, he has given hope to thousands of kids and adults in his country and continues to do so.
Watch video of one of the foundations concerned with persons living with disability in Uganda: