A brighter future for people with disabilities

Mafoune from Mali with her teacher.
Mafoune with her teacher, who received special training to help her teach students with visual impairments.

With your help, we’re working hard to ensure people with disabilities have the same chances in life as everyone else.

Everyone deserves an education, employment, good health, and to be treated equally in their community. Yet too many people with disabilities in developing countries are missing out. Fighting for their rights is an important part of the work you help support, and together we’re making real progress.

When children with disabilities are denied an education, they can be locked into a cycle of isolation, poverty and being dependent on their families. You’re supporting inclusive education programmes to help young people with disabilities learn alongside other children so they can realise their potential and support themselves.

Mafoune with her school friends.
Mafoune is able to learn alongside her classmates.

Mafoune has the chance to learn

Mafoune, who lives in Mali, is 11 years old and has visual impairments. Thanks to Sightsavers’ inclusive education programme, her teacher received special training and equipment to help Mafoune learn alongside her peers. Her teacher now uses the skills she’s gained to teach all the students together, for example by writing in large print and making sure visually impaired children sit where they can see the blackboard.

The programme also gives the children visual aids, including glasses and reading stands. Mafoune is thriving and is one of the top students in her class: when she grows up she wants to be a bank manager. Mafoune says: “I like geography, arithmetic and science. But my favourite subject is history.”

Kesimire using her knitting machine.
Kesimire learned to knit, which enabled her to get a job.

Kesimire can now earn a living

Stigma, discrimination and a lack of suitable workplaces can all hold people with disabilities back. You’re empowering young people like Kesimire from Uganda to earn money, be part of society and stand on their own two feet.

Kesimire has cerebral palsy. Sadly, her parents abandoned her because of her disability, leaving her in the care of her grandmother. She’s been insulted, underestimated and excluded. Now she’s admired and independent. Through our Connecting the Dots programme, Kesimire has gone from having no skills to being the only knitting expert in her community.

She now has a job and can meet her basic needs instead of relying on her grandmother to provide for her. She says: “If it wasn’t for Sightsavers, I think I would still be badly off. The project gave me skills plus a knitting machine and I now knit sweaters.”

Enjoying better health and wellbeing

There’s growing evidence that people with disabilities experience poorer health than others, often due to lack of accessible health facilities and information. You’re supporting crucial initiatives to ensure everyone can enjoy good-quality, affordable health care.

We’re also testing new ways of collecting data for some of our health programmes to find out how to best evaluate their accessibility. We’ll use the evidence we collect to make all of our health programmes more inclusive.

Help others like Mafoune and Kesimire today

Three siblings from Zambia smile following their trachoma treatment.
Sightsavers Reports

With your help, we’ve reached the unreachable in Zambia

Last year, during a visit to western Zambia, we met brothers Sililo and Maimbolwa, and their sister Inutu. All were suffering from trachoma – but we were able to treat them, thanks to you.

A student covers one eye during an eye test at a school in India.
Sightsavers Reports

How we’re training teachers to spot blinding eye conditions

Mr Aahiswar is head teacher at Rangai Middle School in central India. He has been trained to screen students for vision problems so children can get the life-changing help they need.

Sightsavers surgeon Aliyu smiles with a group of children.
Sightsavers Reports

Meet the dancing trachoma surgeon

Aliyu A-Umar, a former trachoma surgeon in Nigeria, has an inspiring way of making people feel at ease about eye care.