EMBARGOED TO THE MEDIA UNTIL TUESDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2003, 1100 HRS NEW YORK TIME
Hear Our Voices - Uganda
Taban can walk again
My name is Taban Ayile. I am fourteen years old. I live in northern Uganda. There has been a war here for more than seventeen years. In 1999, the vehicle I was travelling in hit a land mine and my legs were injured. I was lucky. I got to the hospital in time. They saved my life. But I lost both legs.
Many children in North Uganda are not so lucky and don't get to a hospital for treatment.
Without the help of the doctors and nurses here I would have probably died. Now three years later, I can play and go to school. I have hope again.
Taban is one of hundreds of children whose lives will forever be associated with the Gulu Regional Orthopaedic Workshop and Rehabilitation Centre. It is here that Tabanís wounds were nursed and he was fitted with a prosthesis. He now can walk.
Built in 1998 with support from AVSI, an Italian NGO, the workshop rehabilitates persons with disabilities, amputees and victims of landmines from all over northern Uganda. Since September 2002 the patients receive food aid from the World Food Programme in form of cereals, pulses and vegetable oil.
Regional Orthopaedic Workshop currently houses 29 patients. After being
fitted with their prostheses, patients undergo functional training,
physiotherapy and counselling. The centre plans to introduce vocational
skills training in the not-too-distant future. Most patients are normally
discharged after one month, though this varies. In crisis situations, UN
agencies, NGOs and the ICRC provide food, emergency medical help to the
Taban is just one of thousands of men, women and children who have borne the brunt of the protracted conflict. Though many stories of the victims of the Lordís Resistance Army remain untold, there is a common thread weaving through them all- their lives will never be the same again, but there is hope for a future with no more abductions, killings, maiming and most of all, a future devoid of the words fear and terror, and the numerous atrocities that follow in the wake of armed conflict.