If you are persistent, you will get it, if you are consistent, you will keep it. This best describes Yakwaya Fred.
He represents deaf people in Uganda as a politician counselor. When I met him I could not help but notice his constant smile.
He has worked with United Deaf Women as a program officer where his work involved focusing on access to education, communication and linking women to community poverty reduction programs.
He founded Bududa Deaf Women, a community based organization whose main objective is to advocate for the rights of women and girls.
Tens of women who were not previously accessing information now benefit from government programs, leadership training programs, sexual reproductive health training and life skills.
The organization is in six sub counties of Uganda. They currently partner with various local schools to open enrollment for deaf students and training of teachers.
I lost my hearing at age 17 as a result of a circumcision ceremony where blowing of whistles is the order of the day.
I passed my O levels well through studying. I did not have any sign language skills.
I pursued my BA in Business Studies at Kyambogo University where the journey as a deaf person was tough.
I read widely and managed to complete my education. There was no sign language in campus.
Yakwaya’s vision is to represent persons with disabilities in Uganda’s parliament as a Member of Parliament. This will make it easier for him to amend laws and ensure implementation from the inside.
Through his organization, his vision is to empower deaf women and build a deaf school in Bududa.
I always urge young people to continually invest in themselves, to never give up because where you have challenges, you also have opportunities.
Apply for as many opportunities as possible. I am very glad to have made it to YALI RLC E.A where I built networks and my leadership skills were redefined.
I am married to a beautiful wife and God has blessed us with two children.
I have learned to strike a balance between family and work. This keeps me grounded and focused.
Keep soaring Yakwaya, after all, Elias Canetti said, “Success listens only to applause. To all else it is deaf.”