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Education

Sightsavers works with local and national partners in our programme countries to promote inclusive, quality education, giving all children the chance to go to school.

Two boys laughing outside.

It’s thought that one third of children who do not attend school – 19 million – have a disability.

Despite significant increases in school attendance over the past decade and efforts to reduce gender disparities, children with disabilities continue to be left behind, with girls more likely to miss school than boys.

And when children are denied their right to education, they become trapped in a cycle of poverty and dependence.

Watch the video below for a quick overview of our work on inclusive education.

Our work in education

We work with schools, communities, governments and disabled people’s organisations around the world to ensure children are able to learn and play alongside their peers in pre-school, all the way through to primary and secondary school.

We make schools more inclusive for children with disabilities. We make sure lessons are stimulating and classrooms are as accessible as possible, and we ensure children with disabilities have the necessary equipment, receive specialist support and can learn with their peers.

We promote inclusive education throughout communities. We encourage parents to play an active part in education. ‘Mothers’ clubs’ have been set up in Sierra Leone to make school uniforms for students with disabilities, and community members in Malawi help young children to travel to pre-school using adapted bicycles.

We work with governments to improve education systems. We make sure schools get the support they need: we develop teacher training and help ministries of education collect data on children with disabilities enrolled in their schools, and promote joined-up services by linking health and social services with schools and families.

We work with disabled people’s organisations. We partner with groups across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to ensure people with disabilities have a meaningful say in education decision-making.

62,900
children with disabilities supported since Sightsavers began

How Sightsavers’ education work makes a difference

Leaving no child behind

Our innovative work across the world

India

We’re looking at how children who are deafblind can use assistive technology both to communicate with others and to access information.

Bangladesh

We’re exploring how children with complex support needs – such as children who are deafblind – can be included in local schools and learn with others.

West Africa

Our research into why girls with disabilities are more likely to miss out on education is helping us develop strategies to overcome this.

Sub-Saharan Africa

UNESCO has commissioned us to study education provision for children with visual impairment for its 2020 global education monitoring report.

We campaign for a fairer world

Learn more

More about education

A girl uses a typewriter while wearing a face mask.
Sightsavers Reports

“Without education, my future would be more difficult”

Sightsavers project officer Eric Musa visits Marie, who has been blind since birth, to find out how she’s continued her education throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

A boy using a phone with his father sitting behind.
Sightsavers from the field

Programme staff explain how we’re supporting children's learning during lockdown

Sightsavers staff provide a first-hand insight into the five ways we’re making sure children with disabilities aren’t left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 2020
Three social inclusion participants are in a line smiling at the camera.
Sightsavers blog

Building back inclusively after COVID-19

COVID-19 has shown the need for systems to accommodate the new risks we face. Why not take the opportunity to build them back in a way that is inclusive?

Imran Khan, July 2020

View all our education reports, guides and videos

Education resources