I did my primary education at St Giles (special school) before I was enrolled at Seke at high in a class of slow learners. My life changed, all my dreams were hampered and my wishes of changing the World to become a better place were almost crushed. In the class where we leant through playing with toys and counters? I never lost hope. I used to carry my mat to sit on as the chairs were not accessible for me and my form one books but the teacher could not teach me because she was only trained to teach grade three stuff to slow learners. In that class I was the only one with a physical disability and the only one literate. I used to ask myself if I am disabled and a slow learner as the same time?
One day I told the teacher how good I am in mathematics and English, then I was taken to Integration where I was to learn with other form ones in a main stream class and some of the students accepted me, I was doing well and loved school asking for books and homework but other students especially those from other classes did not understand me and each time I entered the school yard some they would start to laugh, calling me names like ‘drunken master’ while some even asked silly questions just to make others laugh. I would stay indoors at break time and be the last or first to go home avoiding the other students.
I tried to avoid them, chose not to mind their insults hoping that eventually they were going accept me and stop seeing my disability and see a student, a human being equal to all other human beings but it went to an extent where I was beaten by one of my teachers for sitting on a mat yet previously he had said “you students from the special class get away from here what do you need t-shirts for?” Yet they were part of the school uniform which I had fully paid for. I tried to tell the headmaster about it but he had no time and I stopped going to school.
I still wonder when our communities will be free of stigma and discrimination, when will that day come when people with disabilities will get equal opportunities, respect and dignity they deserve as human beings.
Adrian C Munyoro