Tuesday, July 3, 2012



ROBERT MALUGU, 34 years, student, physical disability

My name is Robert Malugu, I was born in Dodoma and I am the first born. My family told me that I was born physically fit / without disability but in my childhood before I started primary school I got polio. In 1986 I broke my right leg when I was playing with my school mate, at that time I was in standard one.
When I was a kid my fellow kids laughed at me, told me that I cannot run like them and they nicknamed me babu (grandfather) because I used to walk with a stick. As I grew up I came to realise that there is no need to fight back - I had to accept the way I am and tell them the truth about what happened to me. In this way we became friends and we were playing together.
One of our neighbours, who used to laugh at my mother for giving birth to a disabled child, eventually gave birth to an abnormal child herself. I am not happy with what happened to her but this was a lesson to her and the community - we should not laugh at disabled people or discriminate them - rather we have to give support, encourage them and realise that they can do things like us and their contributions to the community are valuable.
I thank God that I managed to reach up to form six although I did not do well at form six level. I had to repeat and joined university of Dar es Salaam. I am studying for a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration now and I will graduate this year (2012).
At the beginning I used to blame people and government for not paying more attention and supporting me, but after reading books and participating in different workshops I came to realise that I should not blame anyone . I am the one who needs to change my life and make strategies to achieve my goals. Once I take full responsibility for my life, the community will appreciate my efforts and will support me.
My great expectation is to become an international entrepreneur although at the moment I do not have a big capital; I will work hard after finishing my studies in order to achieve my goals. I do believe that I can raise my capital through bank loans, my personal income, support from community, organizations and government etc.
My relationship with my family is good and we live peacefully because we respect each other and they have accepted me as part of the family.
I am happy with my life but to some extent I am not happy because of the support I am using to walk with. When it needs replacement and I do not have money this makes me feel uncomfortable and I am afraid because anything can happen on the way. For example, one day the support was broken and I had to take a taxi to my place. Thanks God on that day I had money, imagine if I did not have what could have happened.
I do not know much about the law and rights of disabled people but I know the one which says that 2% of working places in every company or organisation should be given to people with disabilities - but this does not happen.
I think what is important is to accept the way I am and make more effort to deal with life. Some people may be physically fit but do not have money and some can be disabled and be wealthy. Nowadays the community has changed - some accept disabled people but some don’t. I am requesting the community to accept us the way we are and give us support because I can have a disability on my leg but my brain is normal and I can do wonders mentally compared to someone who might not have a disability. If the community accepts us as the way we are I do believe we can cooperate together and come up with good things.

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