Training for physically disabled and hearing-impaired youth in Pakwach, Uganda
Pakwach, Uganda

The Pajobi primary school in Pakwach is the only primary school that caters for children with disabilities (physically disabled and hearing-impaired), but vocational training after the primary school is not yet available. The Pajobi primary school established therefore a partnership with the Pacer Community Polytechnic.

In the period 2017-2019, the Van Doorn Foundation supported the Pacer Community Polytechnic with the purchase of teaching equipment for the instructors, training equipment and tools for the practical training by students and school management training and retraining of the teachers. To provide also vocational training to physically disabled and hearing-impaired youth, some extra training of instructors and some adjusted training equipment are required. An amount of € 5,400 therefore required. The Pacer Polytechnic and ELECU will contribute € 900, and we want to contribute the remaining € 4,500. The Van Doorn Foundation is looking for sponsors to support this project!

Amount collected: € 4.500.-

Project information
The situation

Uganda made substantial progress in combating poverty but in the Northern Region of Uganda there is still extreme poverty because of high youth unemployment, gender inequality, lack of access to basic services and low economic development. About 70% of the population of the West Nile sub-region lives below the poverty line of USD 1.25 per person per day. This sub-region borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan and the sub-region is directly impacted by the conflicts in Congo and in Sudan. The Pakwach district in that region has a population of about 200,000 inhabitants and the Pacer Community Polytechnic is the only vocational training centre. In the period 2017-2019 the school obtained training equipment and tools from the Tools To Work foundation and received school management training and retraining of the teachers by the Education Local Expertise Centre (ELECU). The Pajobi primary school in Pakwach in the meanwhile is the only primary school that caters for children with disabilities (physically disabled and hearing-impaired), but vocational training after the primary school is not yet available.

The importance of the project

The community of the Pakwach district mainly lives from fishing on the Nile. In fact they don’t have other crafts and it is increasingly difficult for them to be self-sufficient. People lived there for 20 years under the terror of the LRA (Lord Resistance Army) and still the situation is not completely normalized. Youth unemployment in the Pakwach district is high; the majority of young people are unemployed. Youth with disabilities in addition suffer from stigma and lack of opportunities (facilities) to learn a skill. The Pajobi primary school is the only primary school that accommodates disabled youth in their program and recently developed a partnership with the Pacer Community Polytechnic to complement primary education with vocational training and provide disabled youth an opportunity to become self-reliant.

The implementing organisation

The Pacer Community Polytechnic is a state vocational training centre in Pakwach, established in 2002. It offers training in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical installations, concrete work, mechanics, and tailoring. The school can accommodate about 180 students. Until 2015 there were only 100 students because of a lack of tools, a problem that since has been resolved. Pajobi Primary School is a government sponsored primary school in Pakwach and provides primary education, among others to about 50 children with various disabilities. The Pacer Community Polytechnic will together with Pajobi Primary School select the trainees. The local government (department for special needs education) will provide oversight and guidance in this process and will participate in the identification of agencies / companies for apprenticeship. ELECU is a Non-Government Organisation, established in 2010 that has 12 years’ experience in improving the quality of education and management of several education institutions (including the Pacer Community Polytechnic). ELECU will provide the training for the instructors in special needs education, develop videos in support of special needs education and support sensitisation of parents for the training of their (disabled) children.

The envisaged project results

With the training equipment and tools previously received for the various courses as well as the school management training and training of instructors, the Pacer Community Polytechnic can accommodate about 160 students per year!

The project will develop Pacer Community Polytechnic’s capacity and capability to provide also special needs vocational training. During the project 37 deaf and physically disabled young people will acquire vocational skills and it is expected that 80% of them will use these acquired skills for self-employment. The project will furthermore encourage parents of disabled children to send their children to school or vocational training.

This first-time special training will be free of tuition fees but when successful tuition fees may be asked for future trainees.

Chance of sustainability

Through the engagement with parents and community members, the project will enlighten the community that disability is not an inability. From the testimonies of the trained deaf and physically disabled students, the community will see first-hand that it is possible for them also to be self-reliant. With this, parents and members of the community will be willing to support the disabled children and youth by sending them to the polytechnic and attain the skills required for them to become self-reliant and support their own livelihood. The skills attained by the instructors in training children with different disabilities is an asset that will stay with the school to further support other learners who will join the Pacer Community Polytechnic.

The required funds

The sensitisation of the parents / community to incorporate disabled children in vocational training; production of special videos and the training of instructors in special needs vocational training are estimated to cost € 5,400.

The Pacer Community Polytechnic and ELECU will both contribute € 450, and the Van Doorn Foundation wants to contribute € 4,500 for which the Van Doorn Foundation is looking for sponsors!