RAPCD stands for Rwenzori Association of Parents of Children with Disabilities and was founded in 2007 by Maali Wilson, who realised the need for such an organisation after the birth of a son with cerebral palsy. Its aims are to help parents of disabled children support each other, to make the local community aware of the rights and needs of disabled children, to defend disabled children where their rights are threatened, and to provide counselling and guidance to parents to help them move out of a mind-set of self-pity and hopelessness. Its institutional base is a boarding school in Kasese, western Uganda, which provides primary education (classes P1 to P7) for disabled children, most of whom are blind or deaf or have cerebral palsy. Currently there are 147 children taught by 9 full-time teachers. Fees are modest and cover teaching, accommodation, and 3 meals per day; they are reduced or waived in cases of particular need. No support is received from government, local or national.
A particular priority at present is the building of a further dormitory, as the local authority could at present close the school owing to inadequate sleeping accommodation. The cost of this is estimated to be 41 million Uganda shillings (about £9,500).
On each of our visits there we have been impressed by the warm atmosphere, the cleanliness and order of the school, the care of the children, the commitment of the staff and the quality of the teaching. We sensed that the children are valued as individuals despite their disabilities, with real hope for their futures.
You can see some pictures from the project below.