19. December 2017 - 9:13

Ethiopian disability and gender champion announces major donation to Light for the World and promotion of education for girls with disabilities

  • Yetnebersh Nigussie, who was a recipient of the 2017 Right Livelihood Award, is donating all the Award money – 100,000 euros in total – to promote quality, inclusive education for children with disabilities within Ethiopia
  • Half of the Award money will be donated to Light for the World’s One Class for All program; half will be used to establish a scholarship fund for Ethiopian girls with disabilities 
  • More than 32 million children with disabilities in low and middle-income countries are currently out of school
  • According to the official government statistics, in Ethiopia only 4% of children with disabilities are going to school
  • The government aims to increase this number to 75% by 2020 date

 (19th December, Addis Abeba) During an event hosted by Light for the World to celebrate Yetnebersh Nigussie receiving the 2017 Right Livelihood Award, the Laureate announced she will donate all of her Award money to promote quality, inclusive education for children with disabilities within Ethiopia.

Children with disabilities continue to be one of the main groups to be excluded from education around the world.

As someone whose life has been impacted by education, the 2017 Right Livelihood Award Winner, Yetnebersh Nigussie has been advocating, fighting for education of children with disabilities, and decided to donate half of the award money for Light for the World’s One Class for All program, an inclusive education program that aims to influence the education system in Ethiopia and ensure children with disabilities can go to school without any barriers. 

“I believe in the innovative approach of the program ‘One Class for All’ and the potential it has to trigger sustainable change in Ethiopia, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for millions of girls and boys with disabilities in Ethiopia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is why I decided to contribute 50,000 euros, given to me by the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, to ‘One Class for All’, and I call upon others to equal or excel this contribution!” says Yetnebersh. 

In Ethiopia, with its One Class for All program Light for the World focuses on two key regions and one city administration namely, Addis Abeba, Amhara Regional State and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State with a special emphasis on rural areas, where girls and boys with disabilities are often the most marginalized.  

“Yetnebersh has been highly devoted to increasing public awareness that ‘inclusion is a right and not a privilege.’ It has been always her belief that the smallest meaningful unit of inclusion is the school; and to reinforce her belief she has donated half of the award money she has got to support our program One Class for All in Ethiopia and I would like to thank her for her exemplary and generous gesture,” says Nemera Woyessa, Country Representative of Light for the World in Ethiopia. 

The second half of the award money will be donated to establish a scholarship for Ethiopian Girls with disabilities living in rural parts of the country. To realize this dream of educating the most marginalized girls in the country, Enat bank has committed to provide special interest for the amount of money that Yetnebersh will be allocating.

The Ethiopian Women with Disabilities National Association, (EWDNA) will be serving as a technical support provider by administering the grant for this scholarship to be named after our Laureate Yetnebersh. 

“As education is closely associated to better jobs, healthy life, social and economic security and opportunities for full participation in society, those children with disabilities whose right to education is denied are likely to remain excluded from the society.

“Goal four of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) talks about ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all boys and girls but more support towards achieving this goal is desperately needed,” says Yetnebersh.

Notes to editors

About Light for the World

Light for the World is an international disability and development organization whose vision is an inclusive society where no one is left behind. We strive for accessible eye care services and support inclusive education, empowering persons with disabilities to participate equally in society.

For more info please visit www.light-for-the-world.org

About Yetnebersh Nigussie 

Yetnebersh works for the international disability and development organisation Light for the World and is a 35-year old Ethiopian lawyer. She is an advocate for the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP). 

Losing her eye sight at the age of five, she was raised in rural Ethiopia only escaping early marriage due to her blindness and therefore not being considered a suitable wife. Her mother insisted that she get an education instead. 

At school she learnt what inclusion really means. Overcoming social and institutional barriers, she then graduated from Addis Ababa University as one of the first three female blind law students in Ethiopia. Prior to working at Light for the World, she co-founded the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD), with its overall strategy to make mainstream services such as education, health or livelihood inclusive to persons with disabilities.

She is a recipient of the 2017 Right Livelihood Award.

About Right Livelihood Award 

Established in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award honors and supports courageous people and organizations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems. In total there are now 170 Laureates from 69 countries. In addition to presenting the annual award, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation also supports the work of its Laureates, particularly those whose lives may be in danger due to the nature of their activities. 

For more info please visit: http://www.rightlivelihoodaward.org/


For more information, including interview requests, contact:

Ephrem Taye
Communication Officer, Light for the World 
e.taye [at] light-for-the-world.org 
+251 911 121 032

Nenewit Afework 
Assistant for Yetnebersh, Light for the World
n.afework [at] light-for-the-world.org 
+251 961 008 994