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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.

A school student raises her hand in class. She's wearing a mask and has an assistive lectern in front of her.

It is estimated that there are 240 million children with disabilities around the world, and that almost 29 million of these children live in Africa.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, children with disabilities were less likely to be learning even if they were in school. Since the start of the pandemic, school closures have led to a greater learning crisis, creating increased exclusion, marginalisation and poverty for children with disabilities and a growing digital divide.

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.

117,075
children with disabilities supported since Sightsavers began
Children at a pre-school centre in Malawi.

#DoYourHomework

Get involved in our campaign by sharing a post on social media that calls on leaders to act now.

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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 to communicate and to access information.

Bangladesh

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

West Africa

Our research into why girls with disabilities are less likely to go to school is helping us develop strategies to overcome the problem.

Sub-Saharan Africa

UNESCO commissioned us to study education provision for children with visual impairments for a 2020 monitoring report.

We campaign for a fairer world

Learn more

More about education

A group of young children playing on a climbing frame outside a school
sightsavers_news

#DoYourHomework campaign aims to transform inclusive education

The global campaign calls on leaders attending the UN’s Transforming Education Summit to take urgent action on inclusive education.

September 2022
Nora teaches numbers to pre-school children. A child using a wheelchair sits on her left.
Sightsavers blog

Transforming Education Summit: our call for world leaders

Sightsavers’ inclusive education policy officer Takyiwa Danso explains why we’re calling on global leaders to protect the rights of children with disabilities.

Takyiwa Danso, September 2022
A man sits on a stationary motorbike with Saio on the backseat. They are both wearing helmets and surgical masks.
Sightsavers blog

We must include students with disabilities in education transformation

Sightsavers’ Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame shares why inclusion and diversity must be at the heart of discussions at the UN's Transforming Education Summit.

Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, September 2022

View all our education reports, guides and videos

Education resources