A statement was signed by NGOs including Sightsavers and Light of the World last week, calling for children with disabilities to be made a top priority in developing countries.
The move came in response to a report by the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), stating that more than 32 million children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries do not go to school. The report showed that many of those who are able to attend school receive a poor-quality education.
The statement asks governments to allocate at least 6 per cent of GDP and 20 per cent of national budgets to education, and ensure that children with disabilities have the same educational opportunities as their peers.
“Children with disabilities are missing out on years of schooling because we systematically fail to meet their basic needs,” said Sightsavers CEO Caroline Harper. “This not only has an impact on their own prospects, but on the welfare of their communities.
“Education is a basic human right and it is also one of the most important drivers of development. It is a key factor in determining a country’s growth, and our own work has shown that without an education, families struggle to escape from inter-generational poverty.
“The recent Sustainable Development Goals provide a new opportunity to change this; to deliver effective financing and the reform of national education systems needed to achieve universal access to quality education, including for children with disabilities. We at Sightsavers welcome this report and wholeheartedly join the call to action it represents.”