Sightsavers’ Ugandan programme, Connecting the Dots, has been awarded almost £200,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to continue empowering young people with disabilities to gain access to training and internships.
A second grant of almost £400,000 will enable Sightsavers to expand the project further, continuing the positive work of engaging young people with disabilities and changing community attitudes towards disability in the Bunyoro sub-region.
Connecting the Dots, also known as the ‘economic empowerment of youth with disabilities’ programme, has received most of its funding from the European Union for the past five years, and has helped hundreds of young people with disabilities complete vocational training, take on internships and gain employment. The training courses offered range from retail, knitting and leatherwork to mechanics, IT and catering.
As well as helping young people to gain financial independence, Connecting the Dots has changed community attitudes and encouraged local employers to take on apprentices with disabilities.
Sightsavers’ Funding Manager Jane Turner said: “This grant will allow the project to reach 90 more young people with disabilities, including youth who are deafblind or who have learning and intellectual disabilities. Students will also be offered more opportunities as part of their course, which will be broadened to include soft skills and business skills. We are so thrilled to have this opportunity.”
The Big Lottery Fund grant will also be used to build the capacity of disabled people’s organisations, which play a key role in supporting members to access services and maintain their financial independence.