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
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!
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.
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.
But of course none of our successes would have been possible without our awesome partners. So we are very proud of the:
- CapAble platform for higher education, launched together with the Scholars Program of Mastercard Foundation!
- role our local partners played in the finalisation of South Sudan’s first national sign language dictionary
- brilliant IAPB campaign around World Sight Day which we contributed to with more than 70,000 eye screenings
- Uganda Business and Disability Network growing stronger and stronger, now including some of the country’s largest companies!
- work with Inclusive Futures, funded by UK Aid
- GPE campaign which motivated us to raise our hands in support of quality inclusive education for all
And let’s not forget the individual people we work who wowed us this year with their unique stories of impact…
…or our colleagues who wowed us with their expertise and passion!:
- Our Inclusive Education Director made the prestigious D-30 list
- Three of our eye health experts were recognised as “Eye health heroes”
- Our Kenyan colleagues received official recognition for their “exemplary service“
- We welcomed Professor Tom Shakespeare as our new International Chair, as well as five new Board members;
- This LinkedIn post from our colleague Jane Waithera explaining the power of glasses – was one of our top performing social media posts of the year!
Because we want our impact to last, policy milestones in 2021 which we are delighted to have played our part in include:
- South Sudan signing an Inclusive Education policy
- The UN adopting the “Vision for Everyone” Resolution
- Uganda including school eye health within the Government training curriculum of teachers
- Global advocacy at the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP) on the lack of representation given to Deaf members
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!