Inclusive Education

Light for the World helped Igliassu enrol in an inclusive school together with his peers.

Igliassu is playing with his school friends

Inclusive education is schooling for the vast majority of children within a mainstream system, where all children - including those with disabilities – are given the opportunity and support to learn together in the same classroom.

Education for everyone

Nine out of ten children with disabilities are out of school, and 80 percent of all children with disabilities live in developing countries. They are often excluded from education and society due to physical, ideological, systemic, or communication barriers.

LIGHT FOR THE WORLD strives for a school system that leaves no-one behind. We want to provide an improved quality of education for everyone. We support 20 inclusive education programmes in partner countries such as Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, South Sudan, North East India and Papua New Guinea.

Why does the world need inclusive education?

Because it is outrageous that more than 32 million children with disabilities in developing countries are out of school. That’s more than three times the entire population of Sweden!  Being out of education denies this group the ability to make friends, to learn how to read and write, and to master the skills that are crucial for future employment. 

If we do not fight this injustice, we will remain light-years away from the Sustainable Development Goals target to ensure a quality education for all by 2030.

What we do

  • We help children with disabilities enrol in school
  • We assist in making school buildings and infrastructure accessible
  • We train teachers in special needs education, and provide adequate learning and teaching materials
  • We promote inclusive education on national and international levels

Isn't inclusive education very expensive?

Contrary to what many believe, inclusive education is less costly than ‘special’ or ‘segregated’ education. In Pakistan, for instance, UNESCO found that special schools were 15 times more expensive per pupil than mainstream schools which include children with disabilities. Evidence from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal and the Philippines also suggests that the returns on investing in education for people with disabilities are two to three times higher than for those without disabilities.

How can it work on a larger scale?

Our pilot project in Garango, Burkina Faso, achieved an increase in the number of children with disabilities attending school from 4% in 2009 to more than 60% just five years later. The pilot showed that even in challenging environments with extremely limited resources, children with disabilities can take part in a quality education system which helps everyone achieve their full potential. 

In 2016, we helped more than 9,000 children with disabilities to attend school in Burkina Faso and other countries. 

Photo of Nafisa Baboo

Director Inclusive Education: Nafisa Baboo

What we do

Maoué smiles after cataract surgery

Maoué's smile has returned. Thanks to Light for the World's medical outreach programme she is once again in charge of her daily life. Cataract surgery has enabled her to care for her children again.

Martine Bilgo gives interviews Photo: M.Bron

Martine once was a client in one of our CBR projects. She successfully graduated to become a teacher. Today she works in a school which is linked to a Light for the World CBR project.

Photo: Roukiatou with her family

Roukiatou was born with a congenital mobility impairment. A community-based rehabilitation worker put her on a path of self-reliance and independence.