Asamo Living with A Disability and Building Resilience During COVID 19

ikirimat
Posted September 25, 2020 from Uganda
'Asamo" in the middle, Grace (R) and Beatrice (L); women empowerment activists

I recently meet a group of women with disability in a rural village in Uganda who were able to share their stories. Asamo (not real name) told me her story how she has been able to rise from ashes after her husband threw her and her 3 daughters out of her 12 years matrimonial home. Asamo told me that when COVID 19 pandemic struck in March 2020 and government-imposed mobility restrictions, she has not been able to even go to her farm. Already her husband had got a mistress and so had began neglecting her and children. Sometimes she could only manage to fend for just one meal in a day On one fateful day in April 2020, a family meeting was convened between Asamo’s husband’s family and her. They told her to pack her belongings and leave their son since he had found a better woman without disability. She said she cried, as they rained on her words of stigma, demeaning statement, how useless she is because she has a disability. This was a family matter and no community leader was even involved. She could not afford to go back to her village since it was 600 kilometers away. She was in a foreign land. The best she could do was to struggle to make a temporal shelter from mats and sacks. This is were she is residing to date.

I noted strength in her voice and asked her what gives her strengths and hope. Asamo told me a mind-blowing insight. She took it upon herself to seek support from her fellow disabled and vulnerable women in her community. She looked for 4 women with (4 physical disability and 1 blind) and suggested they begin a saving group. They embraced the idea and on their first month began saving with only 25,000 Uganda shillings and 25,000 Uganda shillings social security. As the leader of the savings group their amazing story has attracted more women with disability and to date, they are 15 women in their group. They have saved 620,000 Uganda shillings. They do weekly savings

This fund has helped members borrow with small interest and began or boosted their micro businesses. They are now able to be self-sustaining and not depend on others. They are able to live through the COVID 19 crisis. They feel productive and useful giving them hope for the future. Most of them are currently doing petty trade like roadside vegetable selling, mandazi, charcoal selling, retail kiosks.

Asamo is so enthusiastic about the future and want to get her group stronger by equipping them with practical skills on business, soap and Vaseline making, financial skills etc. She is believing that fellow women is a better position should be able to lift other women. Asamo is now an advocate for other women with disability in her community. “I was in a meeting today were a husband of a deaf woman sent her away and I advised her to go and report the case to police for record purposes”.

 Her dream is to be able to educate her 3 daughters to challenge the world that disability is not inability. “Having only one arm does not make me less human” she says with a smile.

Lets support Asamo.

Comments 10

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ARREY- ECHI
Sep 25
Sep 25

Dear Sister Grace,
It is so good to read from you again. I hope you are doing great and well.
Thank you so much for sharing Asamo's story. It is a beautiful story of hope, resilience and courage in the face of odds and injustice.
I particularly love the fact that she took charge of her life and decided to empower others. We call that njangi savings here in Cameroon and that has been a life saver many times for me.

It is thrilling to see the women working to improve upon themselves this way. Yes, indeed, let's empower everyone and she's right, having only one hand or a disability doesn't make any one less human. It only makes us differently able because it is #ThisAbility that others fail to see which makes us stand out. As someone with a disability, her story captures my heart.
I will be glad to know how things move on with her and I hope her daughters are learning from her strength.

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 25
Sep 25

Dear Grace,
What good fortune that you and Asamo have crossed paths. What strength Asamo has, to let those horrible ways she has been treated slide off her back and find a way to not only survive but build a community and collective business with other women with disabilities! How painful this journey must have been, and what a strong spirit to rise above the shameful treatment. I love that you describe your recognition of her strength and spirit of generosity as 'mind blowing'. I hope she feels our support through you.
Deep sisterhood,
Tam

Nini Mappo
Sep 26
Sep 26

Dear Grace,
Thank you for sharing Asamo's story. The most distinctive thing about her transformation is that she is not afraid anymore, and because of that, she's filled with solutions and passion to lift others up. It is so beautiful to see that in a woman who's healed from being scorned, to including others.
Go Asamo!

Honorine Ngenwi
Sep 26
Sep 26

Hi Grace, what a fantastic story. From the story you just shared, I am so proud of Asamo because she took off on her feet without blinking. This has made me to learn a lot from her story and to make me know, that, never ever relent your efforts in what ever you are thinking of doing. Asam remember that what ever you do in the name of the Almighty , you will always succeed. I will always pray for you and God will continue to bless you emencely.
Go GO Asamo you are with your guardian Angel, she will continue to protect you.
Love yooou

Sabiha Hasan
Sep 30
Sep 30

Oh, wow my sister I m so proud of you. God bless you, may you live a peaceful and prosperous life.

Kabahenda
Oct 09
Oct 09

Thank you very much Grace for sharing this story. I am struck by the strength and resilience of Asamo and other women in her circle.
It is very unfortunate that the more vulnerable a person, the more persecution they are likely to face and yet what they need is love, understanding and support.
Asamo's case clearly demonstrates that a physical disability is not a death sentence. On the contrary, people with disabilities are courage, resilient and given an opportunity, they can reorganize their lives and live productive lives.

It is my hope that Asamo becomes a role model for the country and for people living with disabilities.

The Ugandan government, civil society organizations, and communities have a lot to learn from Asamo.

I commend you and Beatrice for the support you have provided to Asamo and for sharing her story on World Pulse.
I am very proud of Asamo and you and Beatrice because this is a beautiful story of courage, resilience and transformation.

Instead of feeling sorry for herself, instead of begging, and using her children to beg-a common occurrence on the streets of Kampala-Asamo took her life and that of her children in her own hands.

This is a story that should be published in the national press for Uganda needs Asamos. More power to her.

Laetitia Shindano
Oct 10
Oct 10

Chère Grâce
Merci pour le partage et pour le soutien apporté à Asamo. Je suis optimiste qu'elle ira de l'avant avec les autres membres de son groupe de microcrédit.
A bientôt

Laetitia

ikirimat
Oct 10
Oct 10

Merci pour vos encouragements. Ensemble, nous pouvons redonner le sourire à chaque femme

ikirimat
Oct 10
Oct 10

Thank you Kabahenda for the encouragement . It gives us more courage to continue working to ensure every woman is valued irrespective of ones disability status

Hello, Ikirimat,

I am moved to tears reading your story about Asamo and fourteen other women with disabilities. This all happened during the pandemic. Wow! What an inspiration.

I love this, "Her dream is to be able to educate her 3 daughters to challenge the world that disability is not inability. 'Having only one arm does not make me less human', she says with a smile."

I believe she will be able to fulfill that dream. Thank you for sharing her story with us! Please keep on writing!