Improving my confidence

Claire Natukunda

Claire talks about how our employment programme in Uganda helped her to further her career.

The training completely changed my attitude to life. I am now confident that I will be able to self-advocate and find employment.

Claire Natukunda smiling looking away from the camera

My name is Claire Natukunda and I live in Kampala, Uganda. I wasn’t born with a disability but in 2008 an accident meant I had to have my arm amputated. 

It was during the school Christmas holidays when I fainted while making food. Unfortunately when I fell, my hand rested over the charcoal stove. I was unconscious and my hand was on the burning coals for over two hours.

There was no one there to help until a neighbour, who had come around to check on me, found me and raised the alarm. My mother was not close by at the time so my neighbours contacted her. When she realised what a bad condition I was in she prayed until I regained consciousness.

It meets my basic needs

I was taken to Mbarara Referral Hospital in Western Uganda. I stayed there for quite some time before going to Mengo Hospital. The burns were extremely bad and had also become infected. It was hard for the doctors to control the infection. After some consultation they recommended amputating my arm. 

In February 2009 my arm was amputated and I began my recovery. I continued my studies at Kashaka Girls Secondary School in Mbarara. I went on to Kyambogo University and gained a certificate in Adult and Community Education.

From there, I completed my diploma in Community Based Rehabilitation in 2017. Now, I work with my auntie in a small grocery store in Mulago Kampala where I sell cow ‘ghee’ or butter. It helps me raise a little money to help me meet my basic needs and support my mother and two siblings.

Building skills

In November 2018 the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUWODU) asked me to participate in a Leonard Cheshire project. The project focuses on increasing access to waged employment for persons with disabilities in Kampala.

Before I started the project I had made several attempts to find waged employment but had no success. 

The project gave me essential training to help build my employability skills as well as activities that helped build my self-esteem and confidence. I was also offered career guidance and disability rights awareness training. 

I stopped seeing my disability as a hindrance

After the training I knew I could write a good CV and cover letter that sold my skills. I also feel like I can prepare well for interviews. Most importantly the project has helped me to stop viewing my disability as a hindrance.

The training completely changed my attitude to life. I am now confident that I will be able to self-advocate and find employment. 

I am looking forward to the next steps and using my new skills to further my career.