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


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

Srijana KC smiles at the camera. She has long dark hair and is wearing a red scarf and green cardigan sweater.

Voices Unsilenced

Often dismissed as a personal concern, mental health is a societal issue, according to Srijana KC, who works as a psychosocial counselor for the Nepali organization KOSHISH. KC’s own history includes a seizure disorder, which resulted in mental health challenges. She faced prejudice in both educational settings and the workplace, which pushed her towards becoming a street vendor to afford her medications. Now with KOSHISH, she coordinates peer support gatherings in different parts of Nepal. “It is crucial to instill hope in society, recognizing that individuals with psychosocial disabilities can significantly contribute,” she says.

Read more about Voices Unsilenced

Three fellows with the Disability Justice Project stand behind their cameras in a room. One is blind and one is low vision.

Capturing Vision Through Sound and Touch

Last summer, the DJP trained Indigenous activists with disabilities from the Pacific on the iPhone camera to create a documentary series on disability and climate change. With VoiceOver, the iPhone provides image descriptions for blind and low-vision filmmakers and offers other accessible features. “If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense for a blind person to use a camera,” says DJP filmmaker Ari Hazelman. “The iPhone gives you more avenues to tell your story in a more profound way as a blind person.”

Read more about Capturing Vision Through Sound and Touch

Sharma sits next to one of his subjects - a man from the nomadic Raute people.

Beyond the Frame

DJP mentor Kishor Sharma is known for his long-term photography and film projects exploring community and change. Over the last 12 years, he has been documenting the nomadic Raute people in mountainous Nepal. With any project, Sharma aims to actively engage participants, sharing photography and videography techniques. In September, Sharma became a mentor to DJP Fellow Chhitup Lama. He was eager to connect “this idea of sharing the visual technique with the storytelling idea and the issue of disability inclusion.”

Read more about Beyond the Frame

Thacien Nzigiyimana stands in front of rubble outside one-story stone buildings.

‘I Am Left With Nothing’

Recent flooding in Rwanda has left many persons with disabilities without homes and jobs. “Sincerely speaking, I [am] left with nothing,” says Theophile Nzigiyimana, who considers himself lucky to have escaped the flooding. The flooding demonstrates the disproportionate impacts that disasters have on persons with disabilities, which will only intensify as climate change continues.

Read more about ‘I Am Left With Nothing’

Neera Adhikari types on a computer at her desk.

‘Leadership Training is a Key Focus’

DJP Fellow Sita Sah interviews Neera Adhikari about starting the Blind Women Association Nepal (BWAN) and the steps BWAN has taken to advance the rights of Nepali women who are blind and low-vision. Women with disabilities, particularly those living in rural areas, “face discrimination from family and society which prevents them from venturing outside their homes,” says Adhikari. “In a household where there are two children, one disabled son and one daughter, societal beliefs often favor sending the son to school while neglecting the daughter’s education.”

Read more about ‘Leadership Training is a Key Focus’

Satya Devi Wagle sits at her desk, signing papers.

Accessible Instruction

Nepal has between 250,000 and one million Deaf people, but most do not attend school. In many schools for Deaf individuals, education ends at 10th grade, and higher education is rarely available and often inadequate. DJP Fellow Bishwamitra Bhitrakoti interviews Satya Devi Wagle from the National Federation of the Deaf Nepal about the strategies, challenges and successes of her work on inclusive education. “Because hearing teachers are not competent in sign language, there is no quality instruction in a resource class in Nepal,” she says. “We are working … to create a Deaf-friendly curriculum.”

Read more about Accessible Instruction