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).

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Sightsavers and disability rights
Mafoune and her teacher smiling and embracing in front of a classroom blackboard.
Sightsavers Reports

Mafoune’s story

Mafoune 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
Boys sit in a classroom.

Mali government and USAID praise Sightsavers’ inclusive education programme

More than 250 children with visual impairments will go to primary school in Mali as the result of a Sightsavers pilot being run in six schools.

October 2017
Sightsavers employee Sarah sitting on a boat with 12 other people.
Sightsavers from the field

Restoring sight on a remote island

Sightsavers’ Sarah Filbey visits a training session for primary school teachers in Zanzibar, as they learn how to support students with visual impairments.

September 2017