Disability Rights

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.

Martine Bilgo being interviewed. Photo: Matthieu Bron

Equal rights

Light for the World strives for full participation of and equal rights and opportunities for persons with disabilities. In an inclusive community, every person is welcomed and valued and differing needs are accommodated. This means education, livelihood, accessible health care and eye health for all. Comprehensive rehabilitation and empowerment. Simply put: inclusion and equal rights for all!

We work towards disability inclusive development. This means that all planning and programmes have to be inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. Our Netherlands-based Disability Inclusion Lab takes the lead on this objective, supporting other organisations in making their programmes inclusive, setting up innovative inclusion projects, and providing expert advice.

What we do

  • We advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities in international and European development policies such as the new global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • We raise awareness on physical, social, cultural, and communication barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating in society
  • We assist Disabled People’s Organisations in our partner countries to make the voices of persons with disabilities heard

Our work is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Light for the World used the Convention to lobby for disability inclusion in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted in September 2015 by the international community.

Together we are stronger: We work with different partners and networks from the domestic through to international level. In doing so, we influence policy and decision making processes towards an inclusive society and inclusive development cooperation. Education, health, livelihood and social protection are among those areas most essential for people’s well-being. Accordingly, policies and programmes have to be accessible and accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities.
In our partner countries we support persons with disabilities and their representative organisations (DPOs - Disabled People’s Organisations) with the aim of strengthening their capacities in advocating for equal rights and inclusion.

Our work at UN, WHO and EU level

A huge success for our advocacy work is our involvement in the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations in New York. Two civil society speakers from Ethiopia were able to speak in the official review and share information on disability in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Light for the World’s Senior Inclusion Advisor Yetnebersh Nigussie and the disability expert Dag Wakene.

We also supported DPOs to participate in the national consultations and ensured wide ranging media coverage of the event. In 2018 we continue to foster national implementation of the SDGs, with a focus on Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Mozambique, as well as the reporting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) of Burkina Faso and Mozambique.

Another important development was achieved in partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), through a side event on universal eye health at the World Health Assembly 2017. Light for the World mobilised the governments of Austria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Czech Republic and Mozambique to co-sponsor the event and to actively support the Global Action Plan on Universal Eye Health.

What we do

Photo: Nefissa Bedru flashes a smile after her successful trachomatic trichiasis surgery. Credit: Ulrich Eigner

Nefissa'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.

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.

Igliassu is playing with his school friends

A year ago, Igliassu could not even walk because one of his legs was much shorter than the other. LIGHT FOR THE WORLD helped him enrol in an inclusive school together with his peers.