On Wednesday, August 31st, the third phase of the All We See is Possibility program was launched at Kyambogo University. The program, funded by the Royal Dutch Visio, was presided over by the Minister of State for Disability Affairs, Hon. Asamo Hellen Grace.
The Royal Dutch Visio is the centre of expertise for the blind and partially sighted people of all ages, including those with additional disabilities. Visio enables visually impaired people to live, learn and work independently. Its work in Uganda has been through the All We See is Possibility program where they support schools and hospitals in 25 districts across the country. The program has eased the work of educators through the provision of teaching aids and assistive technology devices. These include a braille note taker connected to a computer, the Omni reader that scans text in print and translates it to audio, a Braille Calculator and the Blaze ET that helps learners to record lessons.
The All We See is Possibility program has run for 6 years in Uganda and Ms. Scovia Nansuwa, the Program Coordinator, stated that key among its efforts is the desire to empower young people to be self-advocates, ensure they receive quality services and are able to access information and resources at affordable prices. The program has built the capacity of teachers to support visually impaired learners, especially those in secondary schools. This type of support was previously focused more on the teachers of primary schools. The third phase will target institutions of higher learning, including Kyambogo University, Makerere University and Makerere University Business School, among other schools and institutions.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University, Prof. Eli Katunguka, stated that the University had come a long way in its ability to support and include persons with disabilities, both as members of staff and of the student body. Today, the University currently has 173 students with disabilities, compared to the 165 enrolled last year. The Government of Uganda looks to Kyambogo University as the leading institution providing support to people with disabilities to access higher education and live a normal life after university. The Vice-Chancellor advocated for more funding from the Government in order to continue providing the best support to these students. The Vice-Chancellor stated the university continues to discuss ways to include and support more students in this regard, including, carrying out research on the technology needed to support the learning of persons with disabilities at higher institutes of learning. The University is also considering providing a scholarship to encourage more persons with disabilities to engage in science courses.
Speaking specifically to the students with low vision and blindness, Hon. Asamo stated that advocacy started at an early age. She urged them to find ways to utilise the All We See is Possibility program in order to be useful in the community. The Minister also stated that the lessons learned from this program will be crucial in informing Government programs and initiatives targeting people with disabilities.