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2021: The year in review

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As 2021 comes to an end, we reflect how Light for the World – with your support and partnership – has changed lives.

We are proud of our colleagues, partners & supporters! Their impact and resilience, in the face of ongoing challenge, is inspirational. Read on for a good news, end-of-year detox!

Champions of inclusion

To kick off let’s start with our impactful Disability Inclusion Facilitator (DIF) model. What started out as a pilot programme in just one country – went global in 2021! These incredible youth role models are now active in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, South Sudan & beyond.

Fighting the pandemic

4 Kenyan women show the protective masks they produced. the masks have a transparent part over the mouth to help deaf and hard of hearing people with communication.
Face mask production and distribution in Kenya. The face masks have a transparent section for easier communication via sign language (sign language uses a lot of facial expressions that convey crucial meaning) and lip reading.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continued to cause havoc around the world. Figures on our emergency response, covering March 2020-February 2021, show we reached more than 114,000 people with food, health, hygiene, and economic and educational support.

1, 2, 3 – I can see!

Young Burkinabe girl with her mother in Gaoua Burkina Faso. The girl wears a white eye bandage after her cataract surgery. Both are smiling.
Ami with her mother after her cataract surgery, Gaoua, Burkina Faso.

Excitingly, our comprehensive child eye health programme “1,2,3 I can see!” began this year in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Uganda. It will make child eye health services more available and affordable, through strategies devised hand-in-hand with the Ministries of Health & Education.

Communication changes lives!

What’s more, with funding from the Austrian Development Agency, we trained Mozambican police in 2021 in sign language. Now they can communicate better with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

Our partner activists also raised their voices on International Day of People with Disabilities.

Jane Waithera, Kenyan woman with albinism, speaks on video for International Day of Persons with Disabilities. A white male IS interpreter is to her right.

Women with disabilities on top

To add to this, many of the year’s successes came from women with disabilities.

Gamze Elibol, Bernice Oyeleke and Dr. Robbie Francis Watene received the Her Abilities Award, judged by an illustrious jury.

Nighty, Beatrice and Jenny kicked off their businesses in Uganda, using start-up capital provided by Light for the World.

And we heard, and amplified the voices of, thousands of women with disabilities in Kenya.

Stronger together

But of course none of our successes would have been possible without our awesome partners. So we are very proud of the:

members of South Sudan's first blind football team dressed in their jerseys stand together raising their right hand to show their support for an education campaign.
South Sudan’s first blind football team joined the Global Campaign for Education’s #RaiseYourHand campaign on behalf of Light for the World.

People power

And let’s not forget the individual people we work who wowed us this year with their unique stories of impact…

Colleague pride

…or our colleagues who wowed us with their expertise and passion!:

Policy change

Because we want our impact to last, policy milestones in 2021 which we are delighted to have played our part in include:

f-year old south sudanese girl nyamush has hydrocephalus. she is led by the hand of her teacher and is surrounded by her classmates, all wearing yellow and black school uniforms.
Four-year-old Nyamush lives in one of the IDP camps in Juba, South Sudan. In the year and a half that Light for the World has supported her, she has started going to school, which she loves, and is learning alongside other children.

So what next, for 2022?

Now: check out our Strategy 2023 animation which will guide our work, this year and next.

  • We will also ensure more inclusive eye health: that women and people with disabilities can equally access services.
  • You will see our increased technical support on inclusive education including visits, pedagogical resources and ‘how to’ guides.
  • And we will roll out our economic empowerment programme in Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Malawi and India. This will include 60 Disability Inclusion Facilitators, 2 new innovation labs, and 1 new cross-regional learning route for awareness raising!

Summing up – that’s quite an impressive list of achievements. Thank you for everything you do in partnership with Light of the World to support our continuing impact!

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