Thumbs Up Uganda

An activist project initiated by Samuel Odwar

In rural Uganda a child born with a disability is destined for a life of dependency. For the poor this burden can be extreme. Disabled children can be a social, financial, mental and physical burden to their parents and families at large. Through lack of knowledge and skills of the family, the children do not get the appropriate help they need. The children do not go to school and hardly leave their homes. Therefore, they are not challenged and do not develop mentally or physically. Families will often favor a healthy child over a disabled child, when it comes to food and attention.


Gulu, Northern Region, Uganda

Age Group



Disability - Physical



In the THUMBS UP Model center, the activities are geared towards training parents of children with disabilities. These will include:

Sign language training for the deaf people
Early Childhood Assessment for children
Federal Parent Training,
Juvenile Justice
Statewide Family Network
Parent partnership
Rehabilitation training
Mobility training to the blind people

This will be the first model Center for training parents of children with disabilities in Africa where disabled minors are inspired to be roots and seeds of their community.



Number of direct beneficiaries: 270
Number of indirect beneficiaries: 572
(Indirect beneficiaries are relatives, community members and volunteers who are reached through workshops, parents supportive groups and attend peer sessions in the outreach centers)


THUMBS UP UGANDA works with parents of children with disabilities giving solutions to the problems observed in homes, communities and schools;

At home level:
Empowering the parents to address the needs of their children through trainings.
Group parents of children with disabilities according to the needs of their children.
Form supportive parents groups.

Community level:
Community awareness on disability rights
Life skills trainings
Mobility training to the parents of children with disability
Training master trainers to help monitor the supportive groups of parents
Initiate saving schemes and income generating activities
Monthly training of parents of children with disabilities

School level:
Training mobility skills
Open inclusive learning centre for children with special needs
Training teachers on curriculum modification to include differentiated students
Help to assess children with disabilities for right placement in schools
Training disability awareness and rights in schools





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What does this project need?

  • Financial resources needs: We would highly appreciate if you can support Thumbs Up in inform of donations and stipends for the children. Thumbs Up would like to build Thumbs Up Academy – Very Special School with three classrooms for 150 children with special needs. The cost of building the Academy, including the running costs, is $25,000 USD.

How can you help this project?

Recent Story

All of us might have heard about so called special schools.  Thumbs Up Uganda however is creating a ‘VERY special School”. Why? Because all children have special needs. Some might be not be able to hear, to see, have Cerebral Palsy with Neurological problem, others might not have any visible disability but these children might not be able to focus, sit still etc. So basically all children have special needs. Most of them have a way to compensate and develop special learning abilities. Some are audible learners, some visible and others kine-static. If we look at these learning abilities, disability does not really play a big role anymore. Children can learn with and from each other, therefore our school will be a VERY special school.

Ojok is 12 years old. He became deaf due to Malaria and with the age of three he was not able to speak and he could not even walk by himself, he was locked indoor, he has no friend.
Thumbs up provided rehabilitation training and within 2 years he was able to walk and learned several sign language symbols. He is now able to communicate his most important daily needs, he can dress himself, eat by himself, and in short the quality of life has improved a lot. Ojok and many others like him, would benefit more when they could attend the Thumbs Up Very Special School.