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MADIPHA

Three male activists standing smiling to camera

HIV and Disability in Uganda.

Travelling through the colourful region of Masaka, near the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, you might be fortunate to meet the joyous and energetic team at MADIPHA.

Changing lives in Uganda.

MADIPHA is the first organisation of its kind in Uganda, dedicated to supporting people with disability and HIV. We spoke to Richard Musisi, Executive Director, and Dick Bugembe, Chairperson and founding member, about how it all started and how their passion and drive will shape the future of so many people across the country.

HIV & Disability.

Richard explains, “As soon as someone finds out they have HIV it becomes like a death sentence. People think they are going to die, the community sees you as dead.

“At MADIPHA, we say it’s not the end of the world when you find out you have HIV. You just might do things in a different way. You think positively, you eat, you stay on the medical treatment and you will live and be happy. Even see grandchildren!”

Sharing their experience

The people who receive support from MADIPHA and its amazing staff, tell us what it is like to have a support system that changes their lives for the better.

How it started, how it’s going.

Dick was a founding member of the organisation and has seen a huge change over the last twenty years. “When I contracted HIV, I felt so sick, but little by little the medication helped. When MADIPHA started, everyone thought people with disabilities were sub-human, but there was a very small group of five people who came together to make change. None of us thought it would come as far as we have. Those five members are still here and we are now supporting 500 people!”

“ADD was among the first organisations in 2010 that supported us, they helped us set up the office, paid for rent and got us started. ADD took a chance on us and now we are helping hundreds of disabled people to live healthy happy lives.”

Dick, disability activist, sat smiling to camera
Dick Bugembe, Chairperson, MADIPHA.

We are like a family supporting each other, our motto is written on the wall and it says, “Work as a team, smile for free”.

Dick Bugembe, Chairperson

Inclusion Works.

ADD is partnering with MADIPHA to deliver ‘Inclusion Works’ a project supporting young people with disabilities to find work. Richard tells us, “Access to education, employment means young people with disabilities have respect from their families and the community, because they can take care of their own needs. We speak to employers to make sure they have a positive attitude to disability.

We are finding that slowly businesses and employers are starting to understand they have to accept and change for people with disabilities.” Richard knows it’s not always easy, and he worries a lot about the people they help. “It’s hard, sometimes people call you and say they’ve not eaten or taken their drugs. It can be stressful trying to make sure we can find funds to help everyone.”

But what motivates you to keep going? Richard tells us, “Every time I do something that changes someone’s life from negative to positive, I get more courage to do more things that will help others, inspire others. Dick said, “I feel the same. That is why we started. People are accessing their education. People are able to go to work. Now people are being embraced by their community. I pray to god to give me more life, so we can help more people.”

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