BUNDIBUGYO – In the face of adversity, Robert Balikamanya, a 20-year-old student with both arms disabled, defies societal expectations and proves that disability is not an obstacle to success. Balikamanya, the youngest in a family of four, shared his inspiring journey during a visit to his school by Rwenzori Daily.
Currently undertaking his final Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) Examination at Three Angles High School in Ntandi Town Council, Bundibugyo District, Balikamanya expressed his childhood dream of becoming a doctor—a wish shared by his mother. Born with folded arms, he faced the challenge head-on, stating that he is fully capable of undertaking any task, especially washing. Despite his physical condition, Balikamanya affirmed that, like anyone else, he learned various skills with the support of his mother and others around him.
Balikamanya’s determination shines through in his academic pursuits. He acknowledged the lack of adequate support in schools catering to special needs but remained consistent and focused on his goals. Raised by a single mother who worked hard to provide for him after his father abandoned the family, Balikamanya encountered financial difficulties throughout his life, especially with paying for school fees and dealing with health issues.
Despite facing challenges and occasional stigmatization in adulthood due to the limitations imposed by his physical condition, Balikamanya emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and resilience. He advised others with similar experiences not to blame their parents, urging them to embrace their uniqueness and strive for a bright future.
Balikamanya’s story sheds light on the need for inclusive education and equal opportunities for people with special needs. He called upon parents, leaders, and organizations to stop devaluing individuals with disabilities, emphasizing that they are capable and deserving of the same priorities and opportunities as everyone else.
As Balikamanya awaits the results of his UCE exams, he exudes confidence in his performance, anticipating success by a good percentage. He expressed gratitude for those who supported him and welcomed further assistance to pursue his education. With aspirations to excel as an artist, Balikamanya remains hopeful and determined, sending a powerful message about the potential for success against all odds.