BY HENRY SEKANJAKO
Margaret Ninsima lost her sight in 2000, but has not let it stop her drive. Currently an intern at Digital Opportunity Trust, Ninsiima teaches computer skills to people with disabilities
Margaret Ninsiima, 24, lives by the saying ‘disability is not inability’. Ninsiima, a graduate of community psychology from Makerere University, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Bagirina in Miyumba village, Kyanamira sub-county, Kabale district.
Ninsiima went to Hornby primary and Iganga SS, before joining Makerere University. She is currently a distinguished intern at Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), an international NGO. Ninsiima believes she can change the world with her ICT skills and empower the less privileged youth, women and persons with disabilities (PWDs). Under the programme Reach Up at Uganda National Association of the Blind (UNAB), she teaches PWDs business enterprise and ICT skills. “I was born a normal child. I lost my sight in 2000.
I must confess that this left me heartbroken. I grieved a lot and was angry for a long time,” confesses Ninsiima. “This impacted on the lives of my family members and friends. Some chose to alienate me.” After completing university, Ninsiima was worried, not about the kind of job she would be offered nor the salary, but the stigma she thought she might face. Her worry was short lived, for DOT Uganda picked her from among many people who had applied for internship. “I am confident and I am able to manage my personal challenges well.
The work experience has also helped me to mingle with the external world more easily.” Ninsiima does most of her work at community level, under UNAB. “I am grateful that through DOT, I have been able to reach out to other PWDs through the trainings I conduct. I have impacted the lives of 33 PWDs in my community,” boasts Ninsiima.
HOW DOES SHE TEACH?
Through the use of a computer software called ‘Jaws’ she is able to train her students. “I apply this software and listen to whatever it asks me to type,” she explains. Sandra Nassali, the communications officer of DOT, says Ninsiima is a brilliant person and a fast learner. “She has so far trained ICT skills to 100 people,” says Nassali. Ninsiima recently scooped an award from DOT as one of the best facilitators in IT skills.
Joseph Kibirige, one of Ninsiima’s pioneer students and a practising farmer, says of Ninsiima’s help: “As a farmer, I can now use my computer skills to market my products via facebook. I have also learnt to use the computer in looking for the best seeds which can yield more crops.
” Unlike some PWDs who need physical support for their day-to-day activities, Ninsiima stays alone at home, and does everything for herself. “I do everything, cook my own food and wash my clothes,” Ninsiima says. During her free time, Ninsiima likes dancing, and hanging out with friends.
“Trust me, if there is a party, you will not find her seated. She will get up and start challenging everyone on the dance floor. You won’t be bored next to her,” Nassali says. To PWDs and anyone struggling with something in their lives, Ninsiima says: “Believe in your abilities. Learn to understand your strengths and areas of improvement and work towards making yourself relevant on the basis of your strengths.