Encouraging inclusion everywhere
An estimated 93-150 million children worldwide live with disabilities. Children with disabilities are 10 times less likely to attend school than children without disabilities, and even if they do attend school, they are more likely to drop out early. School facilities may not be accessible and journeys to school can often be treacherous.
On International day of persons with disabilities we profile three children whose lives have been improved thanks to the work that Plan Internaitonal has done in their communities.
Plan International recognises the additional challenges that many of these children face and aims to increase inclusion for all boys and girls. In Sierra Leone, Plan International runs a disability inclusion programme in schools. The programme is attended by many students, who used to be left on their own while classmates went out to play, but now our work has ensured that all students are taught to be inclusive so that all children can participate and can learn together.
Kapri, 11, has polio and needs crutches to walk, he attends a Plan International school, “When I finish school I want to be President of Sierra Leone and build houses and schools for people with disabilities, so they can be educated like me.”
As part of the Nepal earthquake relief effort, Plan International has been building schools back to be more safe and inclusive for students with disabilities. Samita attended a school that was hit hard by the aftershock of the earthquake in Nepal in April last year. Her school was almost completely destroyed, and Samita was afraid of returning to school, worrying that should another aftershock hit, her prosthetic leg would limit how quickly she could escape with her classmates.
Samita’s head teacher, Dinesh, says the new schools, being built with Plan International will have, “paved sidewalks and ramps for disabled children to enter classrooms.”
“The school will make a big difference in the lives of disabled children. Now other disabled children can come and learn in a school environment that supports them,” Samita says happily.
In the Philippines, Plan International is helping disabled young people through our youth economic empowerment project, providing vocational training and grants to vulnerable young people, so they are no longer defined by their disability. Carlo, 26 was chosen by Plan International to be a youth beneficiary. He has a disability that makes it hard for him to walk and causes numbness in his right hand. Despite this, he’s always had a passion for hairdressing. Starting when he was just 17 years old, Carlo would cut hair under a banana tree outside his grandmother’s house, even in the pouring rain!
Through Plan International, Carlo had skills training on enterprise and business development and used a cash grant to start a business – he now has his own barbershop: “My customers have increased three-fold now that I have my own barbershop. My disability did not dictate my life and I am happy for that.”
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