Skip to main content
Nissy Namuyomba, a young black woman with her hair pulled back, stares into the camera.

News

Promoting Inclusion Through Storytelling

Play audio version

Meet DJP Fellow Nissy Namuyomba

October 13, 2021

Disability Justice Project Fellow Nissy Namuyomba was born in 1994 in rural Masaka, southwest Uganda. As a child, Namuyomba dreamed of owning a bank, often finding herself staring into bank windows imagining herself there. At boarding school from the age of five, Namuyomba faced stigmatization from some students as the only student with a physical disability among a thousand others. She learned to ignore the negativity and instead developed her strengths by interacting with other students and teachers to create opportunities for success. When the realities of living with a disability became clear, she found herself interested in becoming an advocate for people with disabilities. Namuyomba graduated with a degree in business administration and management from Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi in 2016.

Fellow Nissy Namuyomba opens a storytelling kit at her offices in Uganda.
Nissy Namuyomba opens a DJP camera kit shipped to her offices in Uganda.

The opportunities available to Namuyomba after graduation were limited. The COVID-19 pandemic put an end to her internship with a logistics company, and she found herself back home without a plan. That changed when Namuyomba participated in a Masaka Association of Persons with Disabilities (MADIPHA) gender-based violence project. MADIPHA noticed her communication skills and asked her to volunteer with two organizations. She served in a crucial capacity, supporting the work of a colleague at the Greater Masaka Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy who needed communication assistance. Namuyomba’s work was so well received that she was offered a paid position as an administrative assistant at MADIPHA. Namuyomba’s social and leadership skills continue to serve her organization well. She networks with local leaders, provides financial accountability, and facilitates disability inclusion. One of her greatest memories is presenting her poem about MADIPHA and its fight to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among people with disabilities at the coronation of the king of Buganda on live television.

MADIPHA’s mission is to promote access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS services and sustainable livelihoods for all persons with disabilities. This mission is achieved through women’s empowerment, increased civic engagement, economic empowerment, collaboration, policy, and advocacy. Namuyomba is excited to learn the digital storytelling skills necessary to bring the positive stories of people with disabilities to light using traditional songs and dance and new creative works by people with disabilities. She will partner with local media through the South Buganda Journalists Association to share her skills and ideas. Namuyomba is excited to use accessible media technology to train and empower youth with disabilities, having served as chairperson of the Greater Masaka Association of Youth with Disabilities.

Namuyomba’s identity is formed not just as a person with disability but also as a Muganda woman of the Ngabi clan, speaker of the Bantu language Luganda, young community leader, and family member. She enjoys relaxing in her family home with reality-based adventure comics and movies. Namuyomba is passionate about helping other people achieve success and fulfillment. As a Disability Justice Project (DJP) fellow, she is inspired to create an inclusive society for people with disabilities through narrative storytelling.

News From the Global Frontlines of Disability Justice

Retta Maha poses for the camera. She is wearing a red shirt and her hair is pulled back.

As Long as You Have a Story to Tell

DJP Fellow Retta Maha is the first blind filmmaker the DJP has worked with, and she’s paved the way in showing how individuals who are blind or low vision can tell video stories: “I found that blind people also can be filmmakers, as long as they get support. The blind have their own idea of … what the story is, and then the sighted people can help them make it real.”

Read more about As Long as You Have a Story to Tell

A shack located in Jongaya, a leprosy community in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

‘Everyone Has Dreams’

Misconceptions surrounding leprosy continue to have significant impacts in Indonesia, a country with the third-highest incidence of leprosy in the world. In Jongaya, people experiencing leprosy live separately from the rest of the population in South Sulawesi. One former resident shares her story.

Read more about ‘Everyone Has Dreams’

Sustia Rini poses for the camera.

The Right to Health

Six years after Indonesia passed its disability law and 11 years after it ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Indonesians with disabilities still do not have equal access to healthcare. Forced to go without medical treatment, many become sicker and perhaps more disabled and fall deeper into debt.

Read more about The Right to Health

Ariani Soekanwo poses for the camera.

Rule of Law

Ariani Soekanwo became a disability rights activist as a college student. Since then, she has helped start several Indonesian disability rights organizations. Age is not an obstacle for her. Her enthusiasm for encouraging the fulfillment of rights for persons with disabilities in Indonesia pushes her to never stop thinking and creating.

Read more about Rule of Law

Naufal Asy-Syaddad stands outside homes in Indonesia.

Sticks and Stones

After DJP Fellow Naufal Asy-Syaddad was diagnosed with autism, he experienced bullying and exclusion in his early school years. Now, he’s found a home at Yogasmara Foundation, where he advocates for disability rights and raises awareness about autism. People with autism, he says, “are highly misunderstood.”

Read more about Sticks and Stones

Dija poses for the camera.

‘Treat Me Like Everyone Else’

DJP Fellow Dija spent the beginnings of her life indoors and away from others. “In my village, people with disabilities are pitied,” she says. In recent years, she has been on a mission of acceptance and opportunity for persons with disabilities. No longer afraid to leave her home, Dija draws from her own experiences in her advocacy work.

Read more about ‘Treat Me Like Everyone Else’