Zainabu Nakanjjako, 40, crawls with the aid of her hands as she conducts her business in Kawempe Market.
Unlike other people, she has to use the same hands she uses in her movement to sell to her customers. She says this has made her life difficult despite her efforts to earn a living rather than depending on begging like other people with disabilities (PWDs).
Nakanjjako represents hundreds PWDs out there struggling to survive because they are discriminated by clients because of their disabilities.
"When customers reach my stall and see my condition, they immediately go to another person selling the same stuff. Even if I sell my items slightly cheaper than others, they do not buy from me apart from a few who know me. Many claim I am untidy because I use the same hands to move," she narrated.
Nakanjjako was addressing a dissemination workshop of market based solutions for a research project of the extremely poor held at Tick Hotel in Kawempe.
She said people assume that; "because we are disabled, even what we sell is disabled."
The programme officer Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNADP), Scholar Opoti said refusing to support such people in their initiatives is the reason why many ran to beg on streets to survive.
She noted that there is a lot of social stigma associated with disability, thus failing development among the individuals.
"Why would you refuse buying from disabled people? Do you think even what they sell is also disabled. It is a pity. We need to understand the conditions of the PWDs and support them," she added.
Opoti called on government to sensitize the public on PWDs to stop discrimination and also create better environments for them work.
"They should build better markets that can easily be accessed by PWDs," she noted.
The councillor for disabilities in Kawempe division, Steven Mandela, urged disabled people to always dress smartly while doing business.
"You also need to look good to build confidence if you want to achieve in life. If you attend a public gathering, speak to be heard. The same applies to business; you must look neat to attract customers to buy your items," Mandela said.
The Kawempe division Town Clerk, Geoffrey Rwakabale urged the public to support PWDs engaged in business as a way of empowering them financially.
Rwakabale said supporting PWDs in business will help improve their standards of living and stop them begging on the streets.
"Every one of us is capable of becoming disabled so let us support and buy from those engaged in businesses to prevent them from storming the streets to beg," he added.
He also asked PWDs to take advantage of government initiatives like the Youth Livelihood Fund, Operation Wealth Creation and also join SACCOs to improve their livelihood.