Richard was born deaf in Kumi district, Eastern Uganda. He began his education at Ntinda School for the Deaf then went to Kenya to study vocational training at Kerugoya School for the Deaf. He returned to Uganda to complete his education at Ngora School for the Deaf. A highly qualified and experienced Ugandan Sign Language Instructor, Richard is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Special Needs Education & Rehabilitation (Hearing Impairment Department), Kyambogo University. He works with the Ministry of Education & Sports (Special Needs Education) as a Special Needs and Sign Language Instructor, and undertakes numerous outreach educational assignments in community based rehabilitation - working with government personnel, teachers and parents of deaf and hard of hearing children.
An active member of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf, he was among the few officially selected deaf individuals to work a Ugandan Sign Language Instructor. He worked as a consultant with Drs. V.A.S. Nyst - Department of Linguistics, University of Netherlands researching on Ugandan Sign Language. Under the Deaf Development Programme, he worked with Action on Disability and Development (ADD), an international non government organisation in Lira and Apach districts in projects set up to mobilise deaf people in rural areas, raise awareness and advocate their welfare.
Okwele has vast knowledge and experience on issues related to deafness, hearing loss, Sign Language and Deaf culture. He works extensively with families of deaf children, teachers of the deaf and Deaf community leaders throughout Uganda. Richard is a member of the Nakawa Deaf Association and director of monitoring and evaluation of Deaf Rights Network an advocacy organisation working with the Deaf in Uganda. A dynamic leader, Richard is dedicated to fighting against the discrimination of deaf and hard of hearing people at all socio-economic levels. He heads the Deaf Culture & Sign Language at Deaf Link Uganda.