The School is located at Mwibaale village, Ibaale Parish, Busoro Sub-County, Kabarole District, Fort Portal, Western Uganda.
The challenge is great but efforts to put on board the disadvantaged children like these ones, we had to make a start. “Disability is not inability,” these children deserve equal treatment because there is live evidence to justify that People with speical needs can perform as well as the normal ones when given opportunity or even better, they excel into useful citizens, who are helpful to the nation. But these children remain stigmatized within their families and communities, were seen as a worthless burden upon them and a curse in their homes.
Good Shepherd Special Needs School, is Non Profit organization, Catholic, founded by Banyatereza Sisters, is the only school of its kind in Fort Portal, and in the whole of Western Region. This School was first mooted by Sr. Theresa Abigada some years ago based on her experience as a teacher in mainstream primary educaiton. With the introduction of Universal Primary Education in Uganda, she noted that accessing the curriculum remained bery difficuly for children with disabilities, particularly with learning difficulties, within the context of large class sizes and limiated expertise. Although there is a policy emphasising inclusion that is, pupils with special needs to learn together with normal pupils, this has not been beneficial to the majority children with special needs due to large class size, lack fo spcecial facilities, vocational skills and materials, instructional materials and many other needs.
We teach the National Primary School Curriculum to children with special needs, giving them individual, special attention. Also we teach vocational skills, equipping children with practical skills, who are 16 years of age and above with intellectual impairment who cannot cope with academic work. These children arre vulnerable to child abuse more especially girls, who are vulnerable to exploitation of every kind such as rape, sexual abuse of every kind ,early marriages even if they are disabled. The boys also meet misfortunes like drug abuse, child labour and exploitation of every kind when they stay redundant in villages.
The school is a community organisation which enables children with a learning difficulty that cannot access normal school because of physical, intellectual, behavioural, sensory and psychological factors, to benefit from an education that will raise their status and value within their community, foster their long term self-sufficiency and help to protect them from exploitation. Our target group is the school going children with disabilities and other special needs, working hand in hand with the community, parents, the district, the government. There is a saying in Rutooro, “Omwana taba womu” meaning a child belongs to the local and international community.
Sr. Theresa Abigada, School Director
P.O. Box 838