The World Bank reported in 2020 that some form of disability affects 1 billion people, which represents 15% of the global population. An estimated 60–80 million people in Africa live with disabilities. Disabled people face many stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination. Unfortunately, this discrimination and prejudice come from the general public, friends and even family members. The following five organizations provide a variety of resources to people with disabilities in Africa.
5 Organizations Helping People With Disabilities in Africa
- Able Child Africa: Able Child Africa works with local partners to help children with disabilities in four East African countries — Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The organization notes that the majority of people with disabilities in Africa are children. Moreover, 80% of these children will not reach the age of five. Additionally, those who do survive are four times more likely to be abused and 10 times more likely not to attend school. Able Child Africa focuses on protecting, empowering and educating children with disabilities.
- Inclusion International-Africa: Inclusion International has been in Africa for more than 10 years and has offices across the entire continent. Inclusion Africa (IA) is a regional federation of family-based organizations and is one of the largest organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa. The organization’s main objective is to advocate for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. IA provides opportunities and resources to people with disabilities so they can stand up for their inclusion in leadership and employment spaces. These resources include family consultations and self-advocacy teaching.
- Disability Africa: Disability Africa focuses on children and youth with disabilities and their families. The organization engages the children through “playschemes;” activities that engage children with disabilities to play and exercise. The organization focuses on play because it is the major field where children with disabilities are normally abused and feel isolated. Playing ends isolation and challenges negative attitudes. Furthermore, it physically and mentally benefits the children involved. These activities are inexpensive but they exemplify how local leaders can and should develop social services. Partnering with local healthcare providers, Disability Africa has provided and promoted medical support and inclusive education to children with disabilities in The Gambia, Zambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone.
- Africa Disability Alliance: Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) is an African knowledge-based agency that works through networks to advocate for the human rights of people with disabilities. ADA also created the Network of African Women with Disabilities (NAWWD), which focuses on advocating for women with disabilities with governments and the U.N. NAWWD also encourages policymakers to establish inclusive laws, have an inclusion representative in the government and provide better reproductive and sexual health services to disabled women in Africa.
- The International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairments: The International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairments (ICEVI) helps people with visual impairments access quality education. They advocate for inclusive education and special needs schools. Additionally, they encourage policymakers to invest in inclusive education, increase the enrollment numbers of people with visual impairments and provide accessible infrastructure for people with disabilities.
Supporting Those in Need
The above organizations are only a few among many that encourage inclusive education and opportunities to help people with disabilities in Africa. Some of these organizations themselves are led by people with disabilities. Examples being certain networks in Inclusion Africa and the Africa Disability Alliance. These initiatives have encouraged people with disabilities to fight for their rights, giving them the support that may have been otherwise lacking in their lives.
– Renova Uwingabire