From: OTHIENO DANIEL KIRACHO
Time: 11:12:13 AM
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
Today October 22nd, 2002 Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark the International Stuttering Awareness day , ISAD, 2002. In the Calender of the International Stuttering Association, the guiding force behind this day, ISAD is a very important day for persons living with a stutter. It is a day one should only miss if he/she must. This is when we need not to forget reflecting back on our lives as people who stutter and see how best we can help the less fortunate comrades from our respective countries and beyond see light in the world of stuttering "treatment" and research. I must say that its not by suprise that even as we might be very proud of ISAD, most of our comrades especially from Africa are still living in the total darkness of this great day and more so of the developments in stuttering currently taking place around the world. Some of these African brothers and sisters are not even aware that friends who stutter can be all that organised by grouping themselves into associations.
It is without doubt therefore that the struggle against stuttering is far from over. I believe through the spirit of networking with our brothers and sisters especially from the mother associations like CAPS, BSA, ISA, Stuttering Home Page, Institute for Stuttering treatment and research - Alberta among others alot remains to be seen in Africa. Its largely upon me and my dear brothers-Joseph from cameroon,Moussa from Burkina farso and a sister-Tonda from Rwanda to ensure that there is a fundamental change begining from our countries . Regarding my personal efforts in Uganda, I am pleased to inform you that ever since late last year when I conceived the idea of begining the first ever stuttering association in this East African nation, the struggle against stuttering has been growing by the day. The coming into the scene of the Uganda National Stuttering Association is no longer a dream but a reality with purpose. After over four years of very meaning relationship with a number of stuttering associations, I felt nothing short of starting a similar association in Uganda would be a betrayal of my people. The stuttering information vacuum in Uganda was so big that in the begining I felt there was need to begin an association with a strong foundation that is to say, one with a long life span and with the muscles to reach almost all those comrades who stutter in the different corners of the country.
I wrote a proposal for the association which with the help of Mr. Norm Mcewen of CAPS, it was posted over the CAPS website. I hope you could have come across i t. Some comrades did respond to my humble appeal . Although their support stooped far short of the request because of the lack of additional support from others, I was very grateful and pleased for the show of kindnees and concern for others their exhibited. I was equally pleased that the message about our struggle in Uganda had reached a wider coverage. Among other things, it enabled me get in touch with the likes of madam Tonda Jane my sister from the neighbouring Republic of Rwanda with whom we share a lot in common because her strong Ugandan background.With her i hope we shall have alot to share as we help our bothers and sisters in the two nations.
I have not just been waiting for the support from the good samaritans in inorder to steer the struggle against stuttering in Uganda. I am already in the struggle as this must equally be a self help Association if its continuity is to be certained. I had had to develop a grass roots strategy which has seen our numbers grow slowly but sure.This stategy involved one person after another. In total we have now reached 24 in number . But as you can see this number is too small to be proud off, infact i can't ever talk of a fully fledged Uganda National Stuttering Association in view of the total population of Uganda beeing over 24 million people with approximately 1% living with the disability, Indeed my effort is still just like a drop in the ocean. In this struggle my greatest nightmare has been accessibility. With 91% of the population classified as rural - source censors 1991, where in most places the communication system is still largely undeveloped, reaching persons who stutter there, is pratically very hard and costly. My other problem has been that some people fear exposing their stammer(Stutter) and this mainly applies to the ladies. Most of those who dont want exposing their stammer talk of stigmatization because of the unfriendly responses they have to pass through when they badly stammer in public. All in all i must say slow but surely we are making progress and soon or later when our ranks expand we shall pronounce the birth of the Association with big membership and outreach programs. I would also like to take this opportunity to send special thanks to madam Judith kuster for inviting me to participate in this occassion. Thanks also go to Mr Norm, Jaan, Hoffman and madam Marilign of the institute for stuttering treatment and research-Alberta. Iam very grateful for all the guidance and support you have extended to me. Please be sure that all that i have got and learnt from you will be used to benefit my disadvantaged comrades in Uganda and beyond.
Note: Madam sorry for all the inconveniences my excessive delay in submiting this article has caused you. It was due to some unfortunate reasons which i cant explain now. Incase my verbal contribution is needed call Mobile phone 256 77 346060.
OTHIENO DANIEL KIRACHO