In May 2022, the Were Nigiwani “God is with us” peer parenting group was formed in Peipei village in Tororo district. This group is made up of 20 parents of children with disabilities, and it offers its members emotional, financial, and physical support. For example, it provides loans with a 5% interest rate, guidance and counselling, and home visits.
Since its inception, the group has been supported by a capable leadership team. They have convened twenty times, and meet every Tuesday to pool resources, exchange stories and advice, and tackle difficulties.
Augustine Owor, the chairperson of Were Nigiwani peer support group is leading by example in his community. In order to ensure the self-sustainability of families, he has trained 16 members in tailoring. Mr Owor expressed the importance of peer support groups, and how it has benefited him, its members, and the community. He expressed his gratitude to the organisations that have offered support.
“We always share our challenges and experiences, and save money together which has supported us in acquiring loans to start up economic activities like selling silverfish, bananas, fish, tomatoes, and groundnuts which has enabled us to meet domestic needs and pay school fees for our children,” Augustino.
Augustino noted that sensitisation conducted by the parents in the community has had a positive effect, resulting in a decrease of discrimination. He also mentioned that the awareness created by the sensitisation has led to an increased interest in the parent group.
Augustino had a smile on his face as he said, “Initially, the community discriminated against us as the parents of children with disabilities, but now they are eager to join our group.”
Margret Amusungut, the group secretary, acknowledged the importance of savings weekly to ensure self-sustainability. She also achieved a lot from the group, such as training on parenting and financial literacy. She applied the knowledge acquired to better her own home.
“I got a loan from the group and started a grocery business, I can now afford medication for my family and share responsibilities with my husband, ” Margaret.
By providing training on financial literacy to parenting groups, the savings scheme has enabled families in Pei Pei parish to become self-sustainable. Not only has this enabled the parents to develop economically, but it has also prevented separation of families.