LPU’s programmes are inspired by the many challenges little people face, which impede them from exploiting their full potential as valued citizens. Some of these challenges include the following:
1. Discrimination in families, disability community and society in general
2. Denial of education and employment
3. Stigma – based on misconceptions like little people are from Congo not Uganda, they are subhuman, they have personality disorders, are a bad omen in the family, are clowns and only good for entertainment, are a burden, who cannot live independent lives etc.
4. Death at the hands of parents and caregivers
5. Paternity denial
6. Low self esteem and self perception of the little people themselves
7. Internal stigma amongst little people
8. Lack of specialized medical care
9. Lack of information about their condition
10. Accessibility – bank ATM machines, toilets, buildings etc
11. Exploitation and abuse in relationships, employment etc
In order to respond to the above challenges, Little People of Uganda in liaison with government and different partners implements the following programmes:
1. Research and Advocacy
This programme focuses on generating information about dwarfism and little people in Uganda and using it to influence policies that impede full inclusion of little people in society.
2. Education and Awareness
Dwarfism is a rare medical condition with over 200 conditions each with its own distinct features and as such largely misunderstood. There is a lot of misconception about what it is, its causes and individuals affected with it. This is mainly why people affected with dwarfism face discrimination and stigma in society including families where they belong. Over 80% of little people are denied paternity. In Uganda, there is lack of information with regard to dwarfism even among the medical people.
Therefore this programme area aims to reduce the discrimination and stigma that little people suffer through education and sensitization of people about what dwarfism is and its causes and how they need to respond to those affected with it. This programme mainly targets parents, schools and the general public.
3. Economic Empowerment
Little people are faced with a number of challenges key of which is poverty and economic disfranchisement. Majority depend on circus and entertainment, which further casts them as good for no more than entertainment. They also face discrimination even within the disability community, which makes it a challenge to benefit from government programmes that are directed towards improving the standards of living of PWDs. Little people empowerment challenges are further compounded by the lack of information on available empowerment opportunities, limited skills, stigma and discrimination and lack of representation on key government and other decision making bodies.
This programme therefore aims to improve the livelihoods of little people through empowering them with skills in enterprise development, helping them start up small businesses and where possible support them in school. Emphasis is put on single mothers both little people and average height and young adults. Through this programme, we also aim to diversify economic opportunities for little people so that they can appreciate other activities besides entertainment. This programme area seeks to advocate for inclusion of little people in government disability and other development programmes.