There are 60 million people with a disability living in Africa, the vast majority of which are children.
Up to 80% of these children from low-income countries will not live to be 5 years old. The children that do are four times more likely to suffer abuse and eight times less likely to go to school.
All these children, every day are facing barriers such as stigma and discrimination for just being who they are. They are some of the most vulnerable children in the world. Forgotten, hidden and systematically left behind.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Despite the evident need, less than 1% of aid funding is targeted towards people with disabilities. Local disability-focused organisations are severely underfunded and under-resourced so Able Child Africa plays a key role in supporting local partners to protect, educate and empower children with disabilities so they are able to fulfil their potential.
The Need to Protect
The exclusion and invisibility of children with disabilities makes them uniquely vulnerable. Girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable, with research suggesting they are 3 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their peers. And many children with disabilities continue to spend much or all of their lives in institutions, away from their families, or face difficulties in accessing basic services such as clean water and basic sanitation.
The Need to Educate
While there has been substantial progress in access to education over recent decades, children with disabilities have continued to fall through the net. 98% of children with disabilities in Africa never attend formal schooling and 90% never receive an education of any kind. Of this number, only half who begin go on to complete their primary education. Most drop out after a few months due to feelings of exclusion.
The Need to Empower
Children with disabilities are denied the opportunity to fulfil their potential by being denied basic rights to health, employment or justice. Denying children with disabilities their equal rights has a lifelong impact. It leads to a life of poverty, discrimination, dependence and abuse. Every child has the right: the right to feel safe, the right to go to school, and the right for a future free from discrimination and abuse.