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‘Yes, wisdom comes with age’

Says Peace Kyamureku from Uganda Reach the Aged Association

By Robert Mukholi Programmes Officer at URAA supported by Milly Tiwangye, Linking, Learning and Amplifier Assistant, Voice, Oxfam in Uganda

Did you know that over the next three decades, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050 and 80% of them will be living in low- and middle-income countries.

The United Nations

October 1st, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older persons. The elderly form a key component of the people that Voice works with. This year we had a chat with some rightsholders to find out about their lives, dreams and plan for the future.

This is what Peace Kamureku, himself a wise woman from Uganda Reach the Aged Association, an Innovate and Learn grantee in Uganda, had to tell us.

Tell us about yourself

I am Peace Kyamureku. I am 65 years old. I was born in a family of 10 children and I have five biological children. I am a teacher by profession although I have worked with civil society for over twenty years now. I am now retired and enjoy working with women in older women groups in my village.

Did you ever think you would get to 65?

I thought I would get this old because my parents are still living and my great grandfather and my grandmother died at the age of ninety-nine. I believe that with care and education, one can get old and enjoy their time.

Peace Kyamureku discussing the discrimination of older persons in health facilities
What do you enjoy most about your age?

I enjoy meeting with other older women. There is some time to spend to learn new things. When I have energy, I learn making baskets, herbal medicine, cook traditional dishes – things that I did not to do when I was in the office and school.

Do you ever wish you’d go back to a particular time? Why?

Not really. I am looking ahead, I would not want to go backwards. There were challenges in the past so I would rather face the future.

Do you think wisdom comes with age?

Yes, wisdom comes with age because there are many things that I have learnt in my old age. I believe that what I have gone through is similar to what my mother went through and it is worth passing on such knowledge to the young people.

Some (ignorant) people think that the elderly are a burden to society. What would you say to them?

We can be a burden if we are living in poverty but we can be a blessing and an asset to society and our families if we are independent most of our lives. My mother could work up to the age of 78 when she got a stroke. She would take care of herself, her medical bills, she was never a burden and I believe if I can do that, I will never be a burden.

What has been your best experience with URAA?

Being a member of Uganda Reach the Aged Association (URAA) has been a blessing because I have learnt more about other older people. I am contributing to the learning of other people and it has made us visible as older persons, visible in the community, in the country. We are proud that through Uganda Reach the Aged Association, we are soon getting members into parliament and if it was not for URAA, I am sure there would be very little advocacy on the issues of older persons.

Peace Kyamureku making a submission during the National research validation workshop on the ageism research.
What are your plans for the future?

I think that is not a good question now. I think the future stands as it is and I should live day by day. For now, I plan for myself and for my children to take over whatever Ill have acquired as property.

A message to the younger ones?

Young people should learn to respect older persons because that’s where they are going. They will also become old so they need to respect the older generation so that they can be respected in future.

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