Apr 28, 2021

Children with Special Needs embrace Chess.

Chess helps children with special needs improve their memory and also do better in school. Despite that, Godfrey Nanyenya, a disability activist at Joy For Children Uganda and a chess coach says parents are not quick to embrace the sport.

 

“Teaching children with disabilities is quite challenging,” he reveals, “it is not only a skill they need, but they also lack basic needs.”

Nanyenya says when he goes into the community to train the children, he finds that they are lacking necessities in life such as food, which hinders them from properly concentrating on the game.

Besides that, some parents do not take the game of playing chess seriously.  “They think you are wasting their children's time,” he says.

To get the parents to agree to it, Nanyenya says he has to go an extra mile of enlightening them about what chess is and showing them videos of how children who have participated benefitted from it.

“The community sees children with special needs as incapable of doing anything in life but when you show them series of how other children have been transformed in life and how they have made it, the parents change their attitude,” he says.

Nanyanye reveals that when he introduced children with low brain development to chess, they started improving in their education especially in science subjects.

Starting to play chess in Primary Six at Bat Valley Primary school, Nanyenya says he voluntarily trains the special needs children to challenge the negative mindset in the community.

He advises parents who have such children to expose them to a variety of things. “Most of these children are very talented but they are not exposed,” he says. “You should not just lock your children in the house but rather unlock their potential.”

Apr 20, 2021

Effect of the Floods on People's Lives.

Floods damage, isolate and disrupt people’s standards of living. Thousands of households are still displaced in overcrowded resettlement camps in Kasese District in western Uganda due to the floods that hit the area in April 2020. Around 100,000 people were affected by the floods and at least 18 people were reported dead. Without access to clean water, decent shelter and proper sanitation, the healthy conditions of women and Children are hang in balance.

Uganda is currently experiencing rainy conditions and we cannot stop to think about the flood victims in the camps.

“All my things were washed away by the heavy rains, the sitting room, the bedroom, everything. Am just here the way on my own, I only have the phone which I was using as a torch” Birra (not real name) as she explains to Joy for Children field officer. She is just one of the many affected people, some families are now headed by widows and Children as most people got displaced and some even died.

The water caused damage to the roads, bridges and flooded into Kilembe Mines Hospital, the region’s primary medical center which used to serve more than 20,000 residents. This has left many locals in dire need as their houses and gardens were completely washed away the floods.

“The Hospital Mortuary was destroyed and the Hospital store for drugs was also damaged, and the surgical ward destroyed, some of the Patients were housed at the nearby schools while others scattered on verandas of local shops” Musa Kabyanga, the Hospital Administrator.

The government of Uganda has put forward plans to restore the river banks by constructing barriers to protect the infrastructure and encouraging residents to plant bamboo trees to help control soil erosion but the living conditions are in a dire state, there is no access to clean water, no drugs in the nearest health centers, and no Food. The aid workers are overwhelmed by the big numbers.

Our campaign is still running to restore at least lives of 300 households displaced by the floods with $99,620 to go. Donate now to save a life.

Apr 19, 2021

Motion on Protecting Girls against Child marriage.

The parliament of Uganda derives its mandate and functions from the 1995 constitution, the Laws of Uganda and its own rules of procedure. The constitution contains articles which provide for the establishment, composition and functions of Parliament of Uganda(chap 6 under clause 78 &79(1)(a) and (1)(2) )respectively by empowering members to “make laws on any matter for peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda” and “to protect the constitution and promote good governance in Uganda.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes that Children are individuals and human beings with their own rights, whereby they must be allowed to grow, learn, play, flourish and develop with dignity. The convention recognizes the relationship between the rights holders (Children) and duty bearers (Government which constitutes the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) thus members of Parliament have the obligation to protect Children’s rights through advocating for increased budget allocations for ministries offering Child related services particularly the Girls because of their vulnerability to sexual exploitation, support teenage mothers and survivors of Child marriage.

Joy for Children-Uganda and Girls Not Brides-Uganda  worked with members of Parliament of Uganda to urge Government of Uganda to develop and enforce policies and strategies to protect Girls against escalating cases of Child marriage and Teenage pregnancies during and after the Covid -19 pandemic. The motion was tabled before parliament on 7th April 7, 2021 for discussion and Approval by the house.

“We want to see a future where every girl is able to grow, protected, have education, get very good paying jobs and go back help themselves and their families, it is all our dream. The parliamentarians play a big role in both oversight and legislation, we thought you would help us this time to have a discussion on the floor of Parliament on what to do as a country to move towards ending child marriage”. Ntenga Moses, Executive Director Joy for Children-Uganda speaking at a meeting on ending child marriage with a section of Parliamentarians.

The motion seeks to have government strengthen the already existing laws and updating the policies on the sexual offenders for insistence in section 123 of the penal code Act of 1954, only girls and women are considered to be victims but evidence has shown that men and boys are also at a risk of sexual violence (Evidence Report No 182-Therpeutic Activism: Men of Hope Refugee Association Uganda.) Monitor the implementation of the National Sexuality Education Framework.

Similar bills have been tabled before Parliament for insistence the Sexual Offences Bill 2019 with the core objective of enacting a specific law on sexual offences for the effective prevention of sexual violence, to enhance punishment of sexual offenders (parliamentwatch.ug) In Uganda, 10 % of Girls are married before 15 years while 40% are married by the age of 18 years and ranked 18th worldwide in regard to Child marriage (UNICEF 2016)

The cases of teenage pregnancies and child mothers have drastically increased due to the school closures as one of the response to manage the covid 19 pandemic, Data from different health centers in Kabale district in south western Uganda revealed 1,014 teenage pregnancies recorded between January and September 2020.Uganda has a vast number of laws and policies and if enforced they would effectively end Child marriage.

It is the responsibility of members of parliament to push for the enforcement of such policies to protect young girls from early Marriages.

 
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