UCU Guild: A government with a big heart

Muduku Derrick Brian

I am sitting next to Yibanda Shafiq, 11, under a large mango tree with its huge trunks, sheltering us from the scorching sunlight. He is fixed firmly in his wheelchair, staring at one of the balloons that were hoisted up on the tree. Suddenly, a choking stench clouds my nostrils. I notice that something is wrong. Shafiq looks uncomfortable. When I ask him what was wrong, he admits that he had unconsciously passed out stool. 

Shafiq Yibanda in a wheelchair. Courtesy photo

I use the word unconscious because Shafiq has no control over his stool and urine excretion. Fortunately, he is dressed in his pumper, and I summon one of the teachers to assist in cleaning him up. Shafiq is struggling with an ailment called Spina bifida, which is a condition that damages the spinal cord and nerves of a person. It usually occurs apparently at birth. It occurs because of a lack of vitamin C in the mother during pregnancy. 

On returning, Shafiq is offered a sweet by an Uganda Christian University (UCU) Guild member, putting a smile on his face. The UCU Guild member, together with other Guild Government officials on Saturday, May 21, 2022, traveled to Good Samaritan Inclusive day and boarding primary school in Nasuuti, Mukono for a charity outreach program. 

Sserwadda Mirembe Racheal, the UCU Guild president, says that her government decided to support the needy in their community.

“We came up with this program to reach out to the struggling communities around us. “We feel the need to put a smile on the faces of those facing a lot of difficulties,” she said. 

Sserwadda says that they focused on Good Samaritan Inclusive Day and boarding Primary School because of the urgent need to support such a vulnerable group of people. “The majority of pupils here have physical disabilities and struggle to lead normal lives.” It is really emotional to realize how brave these people are. They needed help, “she said. 

She adds that essential products like clothes, sugar, sanitary towels, soap, food, and money have been offered to the school. Sserwadda says that the items are contributions from the UCU community. 

Fred Migadde, the Director of Good Samaritan Inclusive day and boarding primary school, says that the school has 133 pupils. “92 of them are disabled, 43 are normal, and we have about 15 still admitted in hospital,” he said. 

Migadde highlights that the main disorders the pupils at the school have are hydrocephalus, cerebral pulse, polio, spinal injury, and mental illness. He further notes that they face many challenges when dealing with disabled children. “Taking care of these kids requires a lot of money, yet the parents pay little.” Shafiq’s parents pay only Shs. 60,000 for the whole term, “he said. 

Migadde says that purchasing items like catheters, cone tubes, and pampers for kids who can control their excretory organs is a tall order for the school, hence the school’s reliance on donations from well-wishers. “I am humbled and thankful to the UCU Guild and the university at large for this support,” he said. 

Frank Mutebi, a pupil at the school, says he enjoyed the UCU Guild Government’s visit. “I have eaten a good meal with cake, and have played a lot today with friends and the people from UCU. I am so happy, “he said.