LinkmeUg in partnership with NUDIPU is profiling Youth With Disability – YWDs and today we meet Lawrence Kitimbo a 25 year old Mass Communication graduate who lost a leg after a motor accident in 2002.
Lawrence lives in Mulago, Kampala and first we asked what life has been like living with a permanent disability – a through knee left limb amputation.
Lawrence: In school, I was just like any other student and I didn’t allow anyone to bully me. I believe I was born a leader and human rights activist. Sometimes I would fight off people who didn’t respect my rights and it got me facing the school disciplinary committees many times.
Challenges at school
Lawrence: My parents were able to educate me till Kampala University where I graduated with a 2nd upper degree but some teachers and students had a negative attitude and misconception towards PWDs.
I always disagreed with being regarded as the black sheep of the flock and advocated for better treatment.
How do you earn a living?
Lawrence: I work with the Uganda National Paralympics Committee – the mother body of all disability sports’ in Uganda. I am also President of the Uganda Amputee Soccer Federation. It has eight clubs comprised of the army and civilians.
I also opened a stationery shop using a desktop computer, laptop and a printer. My family still supports me anyway they can.
Lawrence: As a sports’ leader, I face numerous challenges
- Inadequate sports facilities and equipments like crutches which are quite expensive.
- Sometimes crutches break during training yet we also use them in daily life.
- Most members are unemployed so transport to the training grounds (Makerere University, Namboole, Miami Beach Luzira etc) is a challenge.
- Mobilization and persuasion of new members is hard because many fear getting more injuries.
- High registration and participation fees with governing bodies for local and international engagements.
What kind of support do you need?
Lawrence: I need support with the sports team;
- My teammates need jobs.
- Funding of the clubs and federation activities
- Scholarships for the school going players
Appeal to the public
Lawrence: Everyone is a candidate for disability so you shouldn’t ignore the campaign or discriminate against us. This is a universal concern and responsibility.
- PWDs need more than financial support.
- To the PWDs, losing a limb is not losing your head so adjust and stay focused on your aims in life. God has spared you for a reason and you have to fulfill it.
- To the Gov’t and NGOs, when planning for us, consult us other than thinking for us.
If supported, Para athletes can make Uganda proud just like Emong David who won silver medal in 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
To Support the Uganda Amputee Soccer Federation
Contact Lawrence Kitimbo on +256759033029
Email: [email protected]
Online Youth Magazine
Email: [email protected]