Providing South Sudanese Refugees with rehabilitation services in BidiBidi settlement
Uganda currently hosts 1.4 million refugees and asylum-seekers, most from war-torn South Sudan and DR Congo. It’s the largest refugee crisis in Africa and there are significant challenges in the refugee settlements, including access to disability care.
Refugees with disabilities are among the most vulnerable individuals in a refugee crisis. The majority arrive at settlements with no wheelchairs or mobility aids. This drastically prohibits their independence, their access to key services, like education or health, and alienates them from community activities. This, already difficult, situation is magnified by the significant stigma many people with disabilities face, often being excluded from social events and viewed as demonised or cursed. Despite the significant challenges and needs faced by those with disabilities, very few groups are committed to working with them in this context.
We believe every person with a disability should be empowered and equipped to overcome these challenges. In 2021, we opened New Hope Disability Centre in BidiBidi settlement, home to over 270,000 refugees. In partnership with SwissLimbs and Walkabout Foundation, the locally staffed centre specialises in services including the distribution of assistive devices (prosthetics and orthotics, and wheelchairs) and outpatient physiotherapy services.
Adhering to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, each beneficiary is carefully assessed by a qualified team, to ensure they get the best device for their needs. We also have a dedicated team of 9 Community Based Rehabilitation workers, many who have completed their WHO Intermediate Wheelchair Technician training course. This team provides on-going support within the community, advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and providing sustainable, long-term support for those we help.
Project Start Date: 2021
Number of aids distributed annually: 4,000 +
Lives being impacted: 16,000 +
Wheelchair Provision Case Study
Meet Benjamin, a 15-year old boy from Uganda
He has cerebral palsy and has never been able to walk, so he would have to crawl on his hands and knees or his mother would carry him on her back. We gave him his first-ever wheelchair at New Hope. Now, he can finally move around on his own, go to school and be part of the community!