A Woman with A Disability Attains Spousal Support!

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The Balietagas in front of their construction project

I am Ms. Kagoya Faridah aged 30 of Buchamata village, Kalyowa parish, Irongo sub county Luuka district.  I am physically disabled and married to Mr. Yosiya Balietega, a person without a disability with whom I have 8 children. I was born normal but at 13, my sister and I feel sick for three years, both of us recovered with disability. It was said that “evil spirits were disturbing us.” My parents took us to learn “madarasa” Islam up to level 2 in Mbale.

At 17, my sister got for me a husband in Luuka district, but my marriage was hell until NUWODU came.  My husband said, “No woman has a say in my home”. When he wants anything, he orders, and it must be done. The most humiliating was bathing and carrying him on my back to and from the bathroom.

Whenever he wanted to bathe, he would say, ‘I want to bathe.’ Water must be taken to the bathing shelter as he sits in the house waiting for me to take him to the shelter. I would carry him, sit him on a chair to be bathed and back to the house. Then he would join his friends at the trading centre to play cards. He would sell food for the house with ease.

I converted to his religion hoping he could change, he married other women but the marriage lasted 6 months and 3 months because the women could not carry him.  The children would watch me carry him and bathe him but could do nothing.

That was my life for 10 years before NUWODU came. When I learned that NUWODU was an organisation of women with disabilities, I was excited and attended all their activities.

My best day was when I learnt about my rights. I decided to tell him all about the training.

He has since changed and no longer orders me about. He grazes the cows and saves the family food.  When people ask why the change of behaviour, he tells them “My wife is disabled, I must help her with work”. Our home is very peaceful and happy, my husband now rides me to our weekly group meetings, reminds me about the meetings, urges me not to reach late and cooks for the children when I am away.

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