Justine is a disability rights activist in Luweero, Uganda. She lost her job during the pandemic due to discrimination, and turned to her kitchen garden as a source of food and income. She believes projects like this can change people’s hearts and minds about disability in Uganda.
Addressing discrimination through kitchen gardens.
“I’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace. The head of the institution I was working with left and a new leader started. Being with a disability they excluded me from work. I stayed at home, and thought about what to do next.
When I lost my job I was discouraged. I almost lost hope because I had children to provide for. I felt so low. But that’s when I thought, I could start a kitchen garden. I started growing some greens, peanuts and eggplants. Being small scale we managed to put some soil in sacks where we put cabbages, some to eat and others to sell.
Farming has enabled me to provide for my children, for their school fees, and also for my own needs.
Cultivating Homegrown Leaders
“Given the challenges I have faced, I wanted to show others that disabled people can work to support ourselves. I have continued to mobilize my fellow people with disabilities to get inspired by me and also start their own vegetable garden at home.
I feel so good now I have my own garden. I feel empowered and that’s why I want to demonstrate to people that people with disabilities are able.
Because of me, people and even leaders now say wow, people with disabilities can do anything that another can do and I’ve become an example to people around me.
My ideas are based on the challenges that I go through, so it’s good to support my idea. This is about my own self not an idea from outside. This is about me. This also builds our local activism.
As a group of farmers we’re able to have a collective voice, we’re able to plant together, and we can make decisions as a group.
When I am able by myself to plant my crops and take them to market myself and sell them I feel proud. As a single mother most of my investment is on my children. I want to be independent and sustain myself.”
Find out more about the 100% Homegrown project.
Hear from more disability rights activists.