The school is particularly exclusive for girls with disabilities

Over the past two decades, the proportion of children attending school has increased rapidly on a global level. Despite this, there are still very many children with disabilities who lack access to education. Girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable.

a classroom where several girls sit at school desks, the teacher stands at one of the desks and helps one of the girls who lacks an arm

Girls and women with disabilities are the group that lags far behind when the world community is to live up to the goal of an equal world without poverty. Access to education is one of the most successful means of reducing poverty and increasing gender equality. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that girls, with and without disabilities, have the opportunity to go to school.

Why do not girls with disabilities go to school?

There are several reasons why the situation looks the way it does. One of the biggest problems is that schools in low- and middle-income countries do not have the opportunity, knowledge or resources to run a school activity that is adapted to the different needs of all children. These can be, for example, accessible environments for children in wheelchairs or adapted teaching materials for children with visual impairments or hearing impairments. Sometimes the lack of a sanitary environment is a big problem, especially for girls. Lack of separate and accessible toilets can mean that girls with disabilities can not take care of their menstruation and hygiene and then miss school.

Stigmatization is another reason why children and especially girls with disabilities are kept home from school. Parents are afraid that others will exploit, look down on or otherwise discriminate against their children due to the child's disability. Girls with disabilities are at greater risk of being exposed to violence and abuse, which may also be part of why parents are afraid to let their daughters go to school.

For a poor family with several children, there may be no resources to give all children an education, then it is most common for the boys' schooling to be given priority. Girls with disabilities' education are therefore often given very low priority when it is not considered valuable to invest in their future. 

In the endowment, the discrimination of girls with disabilities in school leads to them finding it difficult to get a job and support themselves, and then risk ending up or falling into poverty.

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Henriette snaggat hår, har skoluniform och håller i en krycka.

Jag är likadan som andra barn

Henriette Kwizera är 12 år gammal och har en fysisk funktionsnedsättning. Hon bor tillsammans med sina föräldrar, äldre bror och lillasyster i Nyaruguru District i södra provinsen i Rwanda och går tredje året i grundskolan.

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