When organizations reach out to provide children in developing countries with an education, one group of children is often overlooked — children with disabilities.
The issue of not reaching children with disabilities is diverse. For example, there are children who physically cannot make it to school, and those who need specialized equipment, curriculum and teachers in order to learn and participate in school.
There are estimated to be around 93 million children with a disability in the world, with 80 percent of them living in developing countries. As there are limited to no resources to help them, these children are unfortunately more likely to drop out of school.
Many children with severe disabilities are already left out of the community and discriminated against. By lacking an education, these children will be further overlooked.
Some of these disability issues can be addressed by providing healthcare access to young children. Identifying that someone needs glasses or a hearing aid, for example, can allow children to go back to school and continue learning. Fixing clubfoot or cleft smile can ensure that children can physically get to school and speak without significant impediment.
One activist for education for disabled children is Ashwini Aangadi from India. As a visually impaired person herself, she recognized the need for schools for disabled children, especially blind youth. The schools for which she advocates not only provide an education that is accessible to blind students, but also accommodates the students. This way, students do not have to worry about transportation and self-care.
Aangadi believes that education is a key to giving the visually impaired a self-reliant and dignified life. This extends beyond just visually impaired children, to all disabled children. With an education, these children can begin to live a healthier, safer life and make meaningful contributions to the community.
– Katherine Hewitt