In 2009, doctors in Uganda’s economic nerve, Kampala broke to entrepreneur, Robert Kateera some heart wrecking news. They told him that his cousin sister Margert had tibial hemimelia – six days after her birth.
What Is Tibial Hemimelia?
Tibial hemimelia happens when a child is born with a tibia (shinbone) that is shorter than normal or missing altogether. Consequently, this creates a difference in the length of the child’s legs. A single incidence of tibial hemimelia has been estimated to be one in one million live births, making it one of the rarest congenital lower-limb deformities seen.
The doctors advised Robert to get her cousin’s deformed leg amputated. For days he cried, after understanding that his uncle had given birth to a deformed child. It took him two years and three months to act on the doctors’ advice and a year after Margert was with a prosthetic leg. “So,we amputated the leg when she was two years and three months,” Kateera told Kimpodcast. It was after the amputation of her cousin sister’s right leg that it dawned on him to help “many children that needed to live their lives to the fullest” but were being held back as a result of amputations they had.
Also Read: How Sedrick Otolo Changed The History Of Pregnancy In Uganda
How Robert Kateera Founded Trudeau Youth Council Foundation
That realization marked the birth of Trudeau Youth Council Foundation Uganda, a non-governmental organization dedicated to saving lives of children living with limb loss in Uganda as well as being a support system for them. “So, we started the organization to bridge these gaps and give hope to such children. We let them know that they can live their lives in spite of the amputation,” Kateera said.
When Was It Founded?
The Trudeau Youth Council Foundation Uganda commenced in 2019 to bring hope, joy, and purposeful living to all children living with limb loss, their families and caregivers. So far, 115 prosthetic limbs have been provided for 82 children across 17 states in Uganda and still going on strong.
“We take them on and ensure that they live a successful or meaningful life. Usually what happens is that once one gets amputation as a result of one thing or the other they kind of think that life is unbearable. As a result of that they lose their peace, joy and hope that they actually should have. Now, they tend not to live life to the fullest,” Kateera said in the Kimpodcast interaction.
“So, what we basically do is give them hope that living life to the fullest is possible even with the amputation experience. In a nutshell for us, it’s pretty yes, you were not born with a limb but you shouldn’t stay without a limb or probably even think of it like life took away your limbs from you but you should not stay without a limb and as a result of that our vision is to ensure every child live their lives to the fullest and become champions even with the limitations of amputation,” he added.
UNICEF estimates that 140 million children are living with disabilities in developing countries, a considerable portion of which are child amputees. Most of these children by the age of five are beggars on the streets without any hope of education, employment, or even live self-sufficient lives. They face discrimination, isolation, and stigmatization, and are not able to participate in all aspects of life as the rest of their peers – a worrying occurrence Kateera embarked to change 3 years earlier through Trudeau Youth Council Foundation Uganda.
He believes that the foundation’s goal is to have over 10,000 people. “Ideally, in the next three years, we should be talking about the inclusiveness of amputated children. We should also raise champions of child amputees. It will be fantastic.”
Uganda in February 2020 passed the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2020. The law makes it a crime to discriminate against any Ugandan with any form of disability and prescribes fines and prison sentences for those who break it. It also demands a five-year transitional period before it is compulsory for public buildings and structures to become accessible for people with disabilities.
About Robert Kateera
Robert Kateera, is a Ugandan social entrepreneur with a focus on children and teens living with disabilities. He is the founder of Trudeau Youth Council Foundation Uganda.
Where Did Robert Kabuteera Acquire His Education?
Kateera attended Uganda Martyrs Primary School in Mbarara from 1999 to 2006, and Taibah College in Bwebajja for high school between 2010 and 2012. Kateera’s passion for flight school led him to briefly join Kajjansi Flying School before relocating to Canada in 2015, and then to British Columbia, where he recently received his pilot’s license from Canadian Flight Academy in British Columbia in January 2021.
In 2019, he launched the Trudeau Youth Council, a non-profit organization with the objective of empowering and motivate young people to pursue a comprehensive education and increased capacity in order to create a better tomorrow. Kateera is a social change maker and He’s passionate about persons with disability and believes disability is a mind game.
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