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Phillimon Kaganzi rising against the odds

The annual Peer Educators academy by our partner Reach A Hand Uganda has registered tremendous positive change among young persons with disabilities. The academy happens annually with an aim of equipping young people with knowledge on sexual reproductive health, different skills, and is also a great platform to network.

The Make 12.4% initiative has since 2018 enrolled over 25 youths with disabilities to be part of the academy. For this reason, we have realised a magnitude of transformative change among these young people and mostly in the livelihoods are relations. 

Phillimon Kaganzi a Peer Educator with disability testifies to the positive impact the academy has had to his life. Growing up with a very low self esteem as a result of his impairment, Phillimon did not lose out on the possibility that one day he would get to harness his potential. Despite having trepidation, he had an ambition to become a medical doctor and become a change agent for youth with disabilities which he is achieving steadily.

“Growing up, I have always looked unique and this always gave me a special description in that whoever referred to me always said “the boy with a swollen eye” or  “ the boy with the other eye covered” or “the boy with one eye” and at first, as a young child I would get irritated. The problem with my right eye started when I was two, my mother tells me. A small swelling developed on my upper eyelid and as I grew, it also progressively enlarged until it involved the whole eye and by age of 12, it had even closed the eye in that I was seeing no more.”

After rejoining school in S3, I always told my classmates that in A’ level I would offer BCM (Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics) since they were the essential subjects one would do to study medicine at the university. My dream career has always been being a medical doctor.” 

In November 2018, Phillimon enrolled for the Peer Educators’ Academy and was lucky to have applied through Light for The world under the Make 12.4% Work Initiative with which he was given a scholarship. 

“I have learnt a lot through the academy and this will forever inform my life decisions,” Phillimon says. He adds that his greatest inspiration was from the talk about realising one’s dreams from Betty Ogiel.

Realising his potential, Phillimon is currently contesting for the position of Guild Representative Council (GRC) University Hall in which he resides. He says the Academy awoke the leader in him and he’s no longer struggling with his self esteem. 

“I call upon young people with disability to rise up and embrace their potentials in various activities they might be best at doing and that they can also do them just perfectly or even better than those without any disability as long as they believe in themselves and once given the opportunities, they ought to work to their best abilities.” He said

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