Championing change: A remarkable journey of Empowerment for Women with Disabilities
by George Sempangi, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Hoima Union of Persons with Disabilities
Meet Ayesiga Flossy, a 40-year-old woman from Hoima City who embodies resilience and determination. A loving wife and mother of four, Ayesiga has confronted life with a physical disability, a journey that has shaped her into an emblem of inspiration. She also holds the notable position of Chairperson within the Hoima Union of Women with Disabilities (HUWOD), a testament to her leadership and unwavering dedication.
For most of her life, Ayesiga has lived with her physical disability. An illness in her childhood resulted in a disabled right leg. Despite this challenge, her family surrounded her with love and support. With their encouragement as her backbone, she pursued her education, earning a Uganda Certificate of Education.
Schooling broadened her horizons and highlighted the disparities faced by individuals with disabilities, igniting Ayesiga’s drive for advocacy. Eager to voice the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), she stepped into political office within her community. Over the past 20 years, she has served as the women’s councilor in the Hoima District Council, representing persons with disabilities. Yet, she felt there was more she could do for women with disabilities.
A pivotal moment came a year ago when Ayesiga joined the Hoima Union of Persons with Disability (HUDIP), a prominent organization championing the rights of PWDs in the Bunyoro Region. With the Voice Project, her path towards empowerment began. Ayesiga delved into structured mentorship sessions, where she learned about the legal frameworks for PWDs, and honed her advocacy, lobbying, and alliance-building skills. Her engagement with HUDIP significantly enhanced her capabilities.
Ayesiga’s growth had ripple effects. Equipped with newfound confidence and knowledge, she sought to uplift her community, focusing especially on women with disabilities, ensuring their rights were upheld and their voices heard.
“I joined the consortium under the Hoima Union of Persons with Disability (HUDIP) that focused on integrating disabled individuals in the democratic processes of Hoima Oil City. This project provided me with extensive training, mentorship, and knowledge on legal frameworks for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). This enriched experience transformed me, allowing me to share my learnings with others. Consequently, I’ve become a passionate advocate for the rights and voices of women with disabilities.” – Ayesiga Flossy
Ayesiga’s achievements have been remarkable. Utilizing her leadership position, she has facilitated the inclusion of more women, especially those with disabilities, in government poverty alleviation initiatives like the Parish Development Model and Emyooga. Moreover, her Agro-shop in Hoima City stands as a symbol of her tenacity and the opportunities she fervently advocates for.
Ayesiga reflects on her accomplishments with pride, crediting the invaluable assistance of HUDIP and Voice. She remains steadfast in her mission, continuously seeking new opportunities and advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities in her community.