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 75% of 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 2023, we made the decision to categorize children enrolled in the Home-based Education Programme according to their needs: developmental and medical. In 2023, we have a total of 163 children registered in our Home-based Education Programme, 91% requiring developmental support and 9% in need of medical interventions. When we piloted the programme in 2016, only 10% of children of school-going age with developmental conditions were enrolled in school. Of this same pilot cohort, 71% are enrolled in school in 2023 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 we have supported 14 our community caregivers with financial literacy and business management courses. The programme focuses primarily on the 163 children with special needs, however our activities also directly benefit 1,400 community caregivers, parents and teachers across our focal areas.