In a heartwarming tale of dedication and compassion, Halima, an advocate for children with disabilities in Uganda, has successfully established The Birungi Centre with the support of Reach the Children (RTC). The centre is set to become a beacon of hope and empowerment for more than 20 deaf children in the region.
Halima’s journey began when she was working at Yopdida Centre in Kayunga, an organization known for its commitment to children with disabilities, particularly those who are deaf. Ntinda School for the Deaf recognized the valuable work at Yopdida and provided essential training in sign language to Halima and her colleagues.
Speaking about her personal experience with disabilities, Halima expressed her deep connection with the children she trained. “God gave me a chance, and these children used to love me so much because they could understand me and what I was training them,” she shared. The children she has trained as part of Yopdida have successfully completed their courses, and are now employed in trades such as sewing and textiles.
Upon completing their training, the students received start-up kits, including materials for knitting and sewing machines, thanks to the dedication of instructors like Halima. She played a crucial role in selecting the equipment needed to kickstart the students’ businesses. “So that is when I left Kayunga… I had a dream of doing the same thing because I loved these children so much,” Halima added.
With a dream to continue making a difference, Halima decided to establish her own institution, The Birungi Centre. She reached out to Ntinda School for the Deaf for support, explaining her vision and the challenges faced in Kayunga. Encouraged by RTC’s commitment to help, Ntinda School for the Deaf pledged assistance upon completion of the center’s construction.
Halima worked with local builders to complete the construction of the kitchen and dormitory, sending regular updates to Ntina School and RTC. Satisfied with all the great progress, the school expressed its joy and promised to send students to The Birungi Centre.
Halima recounted, “These deaf children need practical skills. I asked a student to give me their books to see. For sure it was a practical thing, and it is not easy to explain this to deaf children, what the book is telling them.” She emphasized the importance of hands-on learning for deaf children, who, under her guidance, have shown remarkable progress.
Looking ahead, The Birungi Center is set to welcome students from Mango School for People with Disabilities, with plans to begin operations in early February 2024.
In expressing her gratitude, Halima concluded, “I cannot wait to start next year around February. So God bless you. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
This heartening story stands as a testament to the transformative impact of education and dedication. The Birungi Center is poised to become a haven for deaf children, offering them the tools and skills they need to build a brighter future.