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The first day of Ramadan in an Indian mosque
Members of a caravan of migrants from Central America climb up the border fence
Women pray for victims of the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami disaster in Japan
Harvesting machines can be seen working during the opening ceremony of the Grain Harvest in Caseara, Brazil
Todays top Slideshow
  •  togowestafricawarodisabledboydisabilities  togowestafricawarodisabledboydisabilities

    There are an estimated 93 to 150 million children around the world living with disabilities and 80 percent of them live in developing countries.

    Children with disabilities are subject to profound levels of poverty, exclusion and discrimination. It is often even worse for those with visual impairments and intellectual disabilities.

  •  togowestafricawarodisableddisabilitieshabitathomehomes  togowestafricawarodisableddisabilitieshabitathomehomes

    Community perceptions, local culture and customary laws are often the root causes of endemic violence and discrimination, and it’s particularly challenging for girls like Memunatu. They are more likely to be subjected to violence and face discrimination and exclusion on the basis of their gender.

    The voices of children with disabilities must be heard and valued; their needs and aspirations taken into consideration. Many children with disabilities are determined, inspiring and committed to breaking the stigma.

    Take Philip for example, a 16-year-old boy from Sierra Leone who has difficulty walking. He said: “My older brother told me – ‘Philip, go to school’. If you become educated other community members will realise that even though you have a disability you can do something.”

  •  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrengirldisabilitymothermummummy  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrengirldisabilitymothermummummy

    Growing commitment

    Children and adolescents like Memunatu and Philip must have the opportunity to live a happy life and get the education they deserve.

    It is more important than ever to ensure children with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities as those without. This means making sure schools and buildings are accessible, children with disabilities have the opportunity to play and take part in extra-curricular activities and get medical assistance where necessary.

    Strides forward are being made. Plan International and partners have been supporting Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) initiatives in Guatemala, Mali, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Vietnam, among others.

  •  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrenhabitatfamilydisability  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrenhabitatfamilydisability

    In Togo, for instance, rehabilitation centres have been built next to mainstream primary schools and equipped with specialist physiotherapeutic equipment.

    Parents, carers, local community facilitators and government officials have been trained in disability, and local support structures such as radio stations and child health clubs have helped 3,586 children with disabilities.

  •  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrendisabilityboymother  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrendisabilityboymother

    As a result, children with disabilities have developed their cognitive, language and motor skills, accessed medical and paramedic services, and older girls with disabilities have become members of village savings groups.

    Many have even moved into mainstream education, which is enormous progress.

    This approach builds on existing community structures, empowers the disabled and their families and ultimately enhances their quality of life.

  •  togowestafricawaroeducationschoolschoolsdisableddisabilities  togowestafricawaroeducationschoolschoolsdisableddisabilities

    Inclusive framework

    December 3 marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and renewed commitments from governments to tackle exclusion are heartening.

    Earlier this year, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a set of global economic, social, and environmental goals. It showed leaders want development to be more inclusive. Their pledge to ‘leave no one behind’ includes children with disabilities.

  •  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrenboybigheadeducationschool  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrenboybigheadeducationschool

    To make this happen, governments and organisations must adapt systems, train staff and dedicate resources to promote and protect the rights of children with disabilities. These children must get the support they deserve to banish the stigma surrounding them and show the world that they can make a difference.

  •  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrendisabilityeducationgirlchildrengrouphappysmilesmilinglaughlaughing  disabledtogowestafricawarodisabilitieschildrendisabilityeducationgirlchildrengrouphappysmilesmilinglaughlaughing
  • Mosul: A city in recovery