Kyaninga Child Development Centre is a registered, not-for-profit organisation in western Uganda, working to create equal opportunities for children with disabilities. This is achieved through the provision of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, in their clinic and through community-based rehabilitation in individual homes, schools and local health centres.

In Uganda, approximately 13% of children (2.5 million) are living with disabilities and access to healthcare is limited. The majority of disabilities are due to birth-related injuries, illness and congenital defects resulting in severe disability. Many of these children are living in extreme poverty, meaning that most children have not seen a medical professional regarding their disability and as there are very few therapists working in Uganda (less than 50 speech and language therapists), it is estimated that only 18% of children have access to specialised rehabilitation services.

Widespread local beliefs that disability is an untreatable curse cause disabled children and their families to be excluded from their communities, often cause increased family stress, financial burdens and a reluctance to seek help, in particular from medical and educational institutions. This poor local understanding of disability is a huge barrier to the progress, learning and independence of many children.

Since opening in late 2014, KCDC has assessed and provided therapy to over 2,100 children with a wide range of physical, intellectual and communication disabilities, many of whom have cerebral palsy, developmental delay or Down’s syndrome.

KCDC currently has 2 full-time, Ugandan trained, speech and language therapists providing assessment and therapy intervention across 5 districts in western Uganda, along with a nurse who has been trained in feeding and nutrition. They provide therapy in our outpatient clinics, in outreach clinics at local health centres and in individual homes and schools.

KCDC is currently looking for speech and language therapists to join their team in Fort Portal or Kasese to develop the knowledge and skills of our existing staff, and provide training to community health workers and parent support groups on how to conduct assessment and therapy interventions and address communication and feeding difficulties.

Other ways you can be involved include:

– Assessment and treatment of children with disabilities aged 0-18

– Participate in the livelihood skills and social development programme at Kyaninga Dairy

– Monitor and supervise therapy programmes within the centre and the community

– Participate in parent support and education groups

– Provide training to health care workers, teachers and community workers.

Fort Portal is a 5 hours’ drive away from Kampala and Entebbe airport. It is situated in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, near to the crater lakes and close to both Kibale Forest National Forest where you can track chimpanzees, and Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you can find elephants, lions, hippo and many more animals. Previous volunteers have particularly enjoyed gaining insights into different cultures, lifestyles, people and nature.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Steven Williams or Fiona Beckerlegge at info@kyaningacdc.org