In Sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence of disabilities in children aged 0 – 14 years is unkown, with published estimates ranging from 6% to over 20%. What’s more, 90-98% of children with special needs are assumed to be out of school. This leads to incredibly low literacy rates (only 3% of adults with special needs in Sub-Saharan Africa are literate) and severely limited professional opportunities.
To overcome these challenges, children with special needs require the same opportunities to attend formal school and learn in inclusive environments. Through the Home-Based Education Programme, we provide individualised education plans for children and their families with the objective of seeing 95% of these children enrol in primary schools. These education-plans are delivered firstly in children’s homes, in conjunction with their parents, by community caregivers who have received extensive training on the biological, psychological and social challenges faced by children with special needs.
In 2020, we have a total of 165 children registered in our home-based education programme, with 63% of children enrolled in formal primary schools. By comparison, only 10% of children were enrolled in school when we piloted the programme in 2016. We have made significant strides over the last few years, with 16 teachers’ assistants now trained and deployed to primary schools to implement inclusive education, and two income generating projects developed for our community caregivers. The programme focuses primarily on the 165 children with special needs, however our activities also directly benefit 1,400 community caregivers, parents and teachers across our focal areas. Indirectly, through broader community outreach, teacher training and food distribution, we are able to educate and engage an additional 2,300 residents.