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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.

There are 240 million children with disabilities around the world, and almost 29 million of these children live in Africa, according to data from Unicef.

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.

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

Learn how our education work makes a difference

About our work

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.

Our Equal World campaign fights for a fairer world

About our campaign

More about education

Nora in her classroom with a student who is in a wheelchair. Nora is holding her hands in the air, and the student is watching.
Sightsavers Reports

We are… ensuring pre-schools are inclusive

In Malawi, we work with partners to ensure young children with disabilities can learn, play and develop alongside their peers.

Lesline and classmates at school in Cameroon
Sightsavers blog

Did world leaders do their homework to transform education?

Sightsavers’ Mariana Rudge shares how world leaders at the Transforming Education Summit responded to our call to take action on inclusive education.

Mariana Rudge, October 2022
A young boy sits at a desk in a classroom, writing in an exercise book. A teacher stands next to him offering guidance.
Sightsavers blog

Transforming education: how we’re doing our homework too

Sightsavers’ Liesbeth Roolvink shares the work we’re doing in programme countries to help transform education systems so that all children can go to school.

Liesbeth Roolvink, October 2022

View all our education reports, guides and videos

Education resources