This is the flag of Uganda, the country I was supposed to travel to for approximately two months for a summer fellowship. Thanks to coronavirus, I am not able to travel to Uganda but instead am stuck in my basement, working remotely with the Gulu Disabled Persons Union, in partnership with the Advocacy Project. Looking at previous fellows’ blogs makes me sad that I can’t physically be in Gulu, Uganda; nevertheless, with my personal and professional experience, I am determined to make a difference by assisting the GDPU staff remotely.
Growing up as a blind child, my ultimate goal was to become an air force pilot. As an adult, my cousin enjoys reminding me that at the tender age of six, I was convinced I would buy my own plane and fly my family around the world. Years later, I now realize that flying a plane is not possible for me due to my visual impairment. However, my passion to explore the world in different ways has not waned.
I grew up in Haiti, a tumultuous country ruled by dictatorship, which was replaced by a pseudo-democracy, but injustice and inequality continued to reign. As a legally blind young man, I experienced those injustices myself. For instance, the lack of legal protection in Haiti for those with disabilities caused bullying in school to be a common occurrence. As a result, older students would jump in front of me while I was walking and wait for me to collide into them and laugh as it happened. Moreover, some students would punch me and run away, knowing I could not fight back. However, these traumatic experiences did not deter or discourage me. Instead, it gave me more strength and determination to press forward with my studies, so that one day I can be a contributor to the fight against injustice and inequality around the world.
Given that I partly grew up in a country where inequality was the norm, this embedded in me the passion to fight to have a world with more equality. After multiple conversations with Iain Guest, the director of the Advocacy Project, as well as Ojok Patrick, the director of the Gulu Disabled Persons Union, I realize there is much work to be done. As a disabled person who has experienced injustice myself growing up in a third-world country, this fellowship will be an opportunity for me to assist the staff of the GDPU in the fight against inequality in Gulu, Uganda.
Posted By Wilson Charles
Posted Jun 20th, 2020