Sightsavers Reports

Getting disabled children into school in developing countries

April 2007

What donor governments must do to achieve Universal Primary Education

While progress has been made in many countries towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education and the goal of Education For All by 2015, 80 million children still remain out of school. Of these, over one-third are estimated to be disabled children. In Africa, less than 10% of disabled children are in school. Other surveys suggest that only 2% of disabled children receive an education and that disability has a greater impact on access to education than gender, household economic status or rural/urban divide.

This is a fundamental human rights issue. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly expresses the right of each child to education (Article 28), and the responsibility of governments to ensure that disabled children receive quality education (Article 23). This is reinforced by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature and ratification on 30th March 2007, which places an obligation on governments to ensure an inclusive system, and highlights the role of international co-operation in helping governments meet their responsibilities (Article 32).

Want to read more about our work?

Sightsavers and disability rights
Students from Gbendembu School in Sierra Leone.
Sightsavers from the field

“We’ve learned to treat all children equally”

Sightsavers' Kate McCoy travelled to northern Sierra Leone to visit a school where teachers are being specially trained to support children with disabilities.

June 2018
The Sightsavers team on stage at the HCL ceremony.

Sightsavers India wins prestigious award for its inclusive education programme

More than 3,300 NGOs applied for the HCL Grant, which supports organisations that help to transform rural India through sustainable development.

March 2018
Mafoune and her teacher smiling and embracing in front of a classroom blackboard.
Sightsavers Reports

Mafoune’s story

Eleven-year-old Mafoune has low vision. She is happy and confident, but she wasn’t always like this: an inclusive education project for children with disabilities has made all the difference.

November 2017