More than 40 organisations call on governments and donors to make school for children with disabilities a top priority

A group of more than 40 international and national NGOs are today launching a ‘Call to Action on investing in disability-inclusive education’.

The joint call highlights the shocking fact that more than 32 million children with disabilities in developing countries are estimated to be out of school.

In the statement, the world’s leading NGOs working in disability and education in developing countries, including Light for the World and Sightsavers– together with the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and others – call on governments and donors to significantly step up action to deliver on the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure quality education for all children, by investing in inclusive education for boys and girls with disabilities. They also commit to making education for children with disabilities in developing countries a top priority, advocating for better donor financing for inclusive education.  

The campaign was initiated by the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) inclusive education task group. 

It follows the recent release of the Costing Equity report by the IDDC, led by Light for the World and supported by Open Society Foundations and other international NGOs, on financing of inclusive education for children with disabilities.


“The issue of education for children with disabilities has not been given any way near enough attention by governments and donors of the international development community. This is clear from the fact that more than 32 million children with disabilities in developing countries are out of school – that is more than three times the entire population of Sweden! The international development community can and must do better than this. The joint commitment made today is a real and hopeful signal that things may be about to change,” said Rupert Roniger, CEO of Light for the World.

“The International Disability Alliance calls on leaders to prioritise funding of education to include children with disabilities. Without this we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Colin Allen, Chair of the International Disability Alliance.

“Children with disabilities are missing out on years of schooling because we systematically fail to meet their basic needs. This not only has an impact on their own prospects but on the welfare of their communities as well. Education is a basic human right and it is also one of the most important drivers of development. It is a key factor in determining a country’s growth and our own work has shown that without an education families struggle to escape from inter-generational poverty. The recent Sustainable Development Goals provide a new opportunity to change this; to deliver effective financing and the reform of national education systems needed to achieve universal access to quality education, including for children with disabilities. We at Sightsavers welcome this report and wholeheartedly join the call to action it represents,” said Caroline Harper, CEO of Sightsavers.

“This Call to Action has been shared with both international and national partners over the last few days; and is open to all organisations to sign up. If we don’t act now, we will remain lightyears away from reaching the 2030 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, which promise to ‘leave no-one behind’,” said Nafisa Baboo, Senior Advisor for Inclusive Education at Light for the World.

Note to editors:


For more information, including interview requests and human interest stories, contact: Franko Petri, f.petri [at] light-for-the-world.org / +43(0)18101300-34 / +43(0)676-4530503

Light for the World

Light for the World is an international disability and development organisation whose vision is an inclusive society where no one is left behind. We strive for accessible eye care services and support inclusive education, empowering people with disabilities to participate equally in society.



•    Call to Action and list of organisations
•    Images of inclusive education programmes 
•    Images of the launch of the full #CostingEquity report and several CEOs who have joined the call to action  (Credit: Will Pascall)
•    Factsheet ‘Recommendations for disability-responsive education financing”
•    Link to the #CostingEquity report

List of organisations who have endorsed the call to action until yesterday (t.b.c.)

AbleChildAfrica; Addis Development Vision (ADV); ADPP; Ayninakuna; Blind People's Association (India); CBM International; CENAID; Cheshire Services Ethiopia; Children in Crisis; COALITION NATIONALE EDUCATION POUR TOUS (CN-EPT); Deaf Child Worldwide;Disabled People's Organizations Denmark (DPOD); Douleurs Sans Frontières; Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD); Enabling Education Network (EENET); ENSEIGNEMENT CATHOLIQUE (SECRETARIAT NATIONAL DE L’ENSEIGNEMENT CATHOLIQUE); Edukans; Global Campaign for Education; Handicap International; Inclusion International; Instituto de Educación y Prevención para la Sordera – Benil Instituto de Investigaciones Médico Sociales; International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI); International Disability Alliance (IDA); International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC); Leonard Cheshire Disability; Light for the World; Liliane Fonds; Lumos; MEPT – Movimiento de educacao para todos; Mundo Inclusivo; ORGANISATION CATHOLIQUE POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT ET LA SOLIDARITE (OCADES); Pastoral Social Cáritas La Paz; PLAN International; RED RBC Bolivia; Royal Dutch Kentalis; Sense International; Sightsavers; Strømme Foundation; The Atlas Alliance; Uhambo Foundation.