Access to Education for Children with Disabilities

Partner organisation: Berhan Lehetsanat

Project location: East Showa Zone of Oromiya Regional state, Bishoftu Town

Berhan Lehetsanat (formerly known as Handicap National) is an Ethiopian NGO established to address the plight of children with disabilities. For more than fourteen years since its establishment, Berhan Lehetsanat has been effectively working on child protection, with special emphasis on care and support for children with disabilities through Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programs, promotion of inclusive education and family empowerment in both urban and rural settings. Berhan Lehetsanat has been working with Interpedia since 2008 on creating access to education for the target groups.

In Ethiopia, children with disabilities are stigmatized and discriminated and it is estimated that only 3 % have access to education. Create Access to Education for Children with Disabilities Continuation Project 2017-2018 contributes to the reduction of inequalities through Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in Bishoftu Town of Oromia state. The project works towards improving access to inclusive education through building the capacities of local schools and initiating alternative access to basic education and vocational training programs.

The project goal is to enable the education of children and young people with disabilities and to promote cooperation between communities and different stakeholders, as well as to strengthen the structures in three neighborhoods of Bishoftu. The project works towards accessibility to education and basic services for children with disabilities. The project specifically gives due emphasis to promoting access to quality inclusive education for children with disabilities. It also provides comprehensive and quality alternative education and training access to children with disabilities who are not enrolled in formal education.

One aim is to promote the capacities of government partners, civil society organizations and community based structures towards proactive and informed engagement in plans and practices that affect the children. The project also seeks to ensure the integration of children with disabilities in their community and develop their self-esteem, confidence, positive self-awareness and ability to overcome life challenges. By achieving this, the children can become full members of their communities and gain resources to overcome possible life challenges.

The project employs CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation), which promotes working with all stakeholders to support children with various forms of disabilities. The approach incorporates community education, comprehensive rehabilitation of children with disabilities, creating access to education, improved livelihood opportunities and empowerment of the targets as well as the community at large. Children whose type and level of disability will not allow them to join formal schooling will receive basic and vocational education.

The project directly benefits 350 children and young people who are disabled and parents and guardians of the children. In addition, the project will benefit 15 schools and their teachers, government offices and officials, civil society organizations and over 10 000 community members.