Wheelchair mobility plus education equals a bright future for Eunice Atim of Uganda

Introduction by Leroy Moore

Krip-Hop is more than music! One of the most proudest moments for Krip-Hop Nation last year was when journalist Ronald Galiwango of Uganda, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg and the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, coordinated by Krip-Hop Nation, carried the campaign of Eunice Atim in Uganda to success in getting her and her sister wheelchairs and to make sure Atim’s education was paid for for two years. We raised enough money through Indiegogo to pay for Eunice Atim’s education.

Eunice-Atim-in-school-with-both-wheelbarrow-wheelchair-front-view-1214-by-Ronald-Galiwango-300x225, Wheelchair mobility plus education equals a bright future for Eunice Atim of Uganda, World News & Views
In her classroom, Atim uses her old wheelbarrow so her new, custom made wheelchair will stay new longer. – Photo: Ronald Galiwango

Ronald and Krip-Hop Nation teamed up in 2013 to write articles about a single father raising two daughters with disabilities who needed wheelchairs to get around. These articles were published in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. The campaign turned into a two-year effort with two goals 1) wheelchairs and 2) education. Now, going into 2015, we are proud of this successful teamwork. Here is Ronald Galiwango’s update on this successful campaign with pictures of Atim at school.

by Ronald Galiwango

Disabled and riding a wheelbarrow: a father’s love” and “Exchanging her wheelbarrow for a wheelchair, Eunice Atim in Uganda finds education still out of reach,” which were published on Sept. 26, 2013, and April 5, 2014, respectively in the Bay View, a Black newspaper, have become miracle drivers.

The articles indicated how Eunice Atim of Uganda lacked a wheelchair and education, factors that had stolen her joy. After publishing one article on Sept. 26, 2013, and receiving financial support through the networks of Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg in California, Atim began to recover her joy. This stirred up new interest and another article on April 5, 2014, expressing how Atim’s joy hadn’t been fully achieved with publication of the first article.

The second article signaled Atim’s increased alarm about her need to go back to school. Though addressing her alarm would cost $2,000 initially to enable her to attend school this year and the coming one, Rachel quickly and again intervened in response to the alarm. Using the title, “Help Eunice Atim Go to School,” Rachel posted the alarm on www.indiegogo.com, a website which attracted many donors to pool their resources towards Atim’s return to school.

Since the online crowd fundraiser that ran for 60 days, Leroy F. Moore Jr. and other funders also called for support, which was luckily raised. When Atim got to know that her school fees, payment to someone who will push her to and from school, breakfast and lunch while at school, plus other school requirements like books, pens etc. were to be covered in these years, she said, “I can’t believe these miracles.” She always repeats that statement whenever I talk to her.

Eunice-Atim-in-school-with-both-wheelbarrow-wheelchair-from-her-perspective-1214-by-Ronald-Galiwango-300x225, Wheelchair mobility plus education equals a bright future for Eunice Atim of Uganda, World News & Views
Atim has a good view of the teacher and the blackboard from her “seat” in her wheelbarrow. – Photo: Ronald Galiwango

Many weeks after she returned to school, I took some pictures of her in class. To my surprise, I found her in class with both her wheelbarrow and wheelchair. After class, I asked her why she had to continue using the wheelbarrow.

She answered, “I don’t want my wheelchair to get old. I use it when I’m in class and when I get tired of the wheelbarrow. Sometimes we have to attend functions and I don’t want to use the wheelbarrow. So I have to keep the chair for the functions too. If I had two wheelchairs, I could substitute one for the other.” At this moment, as I quietly looked at her, she added that I shouldn’t be worried. “I am a very happy person because I received all the miracles I waited for,” she told me. “Thanks so much for helping and please tell those people who also supported me to come and visit me.”

Though the last article indicated Atim was calling for help, this time she doesn’t request anything but simply says, “I can’t believe the miracles!” With great support from Leroy F. Moore Jr., the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg and the funders, the journey to recover Atim’s joy has reached its goal for this year and next year. Another task will be faced after next year, when more help will be needed to keep Eunice Atim at school and happy.

Ronald Galiwango is a journalist in Kampala, Uganda. He can be reached directly at galiwangoronald@yahoo.co.uk or through Leroy Moore, founder of Krip-Hop Nation, at Kriphopnation@gmail.com.