Discover Obuntu Bulamu: video narratives of children with disabilities in Uganda

(14-05-2019)

In Uganda approximately 2.5 million children have a disability. The decision to include a child with a disability in the family, school, and community is affected by beliefs about its cause, opinions of relatives, poverty, and the changing social fabric in especially in urban areas.

The Evidence Based Inclusive Education research project (2017 – 2019) investigates if the community based innovative, culturally appropriate, low-cost Obuntu bulamu intervention can improve inclusion of children with disabilities in primary schools. Obuntu bulamu refers to the human characteristics of generosity, consideration and humaneness towards others in the community, it is closely related to the South African Ubuntu philosophy. The study intervention consists of peer to peer support of children, parents, and teachers, trainings and on job mentoring, infrastructural changes, development of learning materials using locally available materials, and awareness raising activities in 10 schools in Wakiso district in Uganda.

The video narratives consist of an introduction (Obuntu bulamu) and 3 video narratives of children with a disability: Mercy, Josephine, and James. It shows daily experiences of children with disabilities in their home and school lives, and gives them and the main actors involved in their lives a voice. Children, parents, and teachers developed scripts together with a professional documentary maker. The narratives emphasize the importance of belonging and caring for each other to make inclusion possible. The videos invites scholars and students to embrace African descriptions and models of belonging when studying inclusion, critically reflect on postcolonial research, and build bridges between academic institutions in the North and South.

This project is funded by the VLIR-UOS, Global Minds, and the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and is implemented by a consortium of the academic institutions Ghent University, Kyambogo University, and the Medical Research Council / Uganda Virus Research Institute & London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Uganda Research Unit, the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sport, and community based rehabilitation service providers and family support groups in Uganda.

The videos were launched with the makers and key stakeholders in Uganda on April 6th and 8th and are now available to the public.
For more information about the project and obuntu bulamu please refer to 10.1080/1034912X.2019.1593326 or contact femke.bannink@ugent.be.