International education and livelihoods

What we said

  • work with the Leonard Cheshire Global Alliance partners to support 25,000 disabled people in Africa and Asia become more independent, through education, youth leadership and employment
  • raise our profile as a partner of choice in disability matters as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are implemented
  • create a culture of learning from our work and research, so we can continue promoting inclusion across Africa and Asia
  • over the next five years, we want to enrich the lives of more than 100,000 disabled people in Africa and Asia

What we did

Emelda and Vivian

We launched our international strategy to enrich the lives of over 100,000 disabled people in Africa and Asia over the next five years.

Since its launch, through local partnerships, we have supported more than 25,000 disabled people through our inclusive education and livelihoods work.

We are very proud of our results in education.

This year, we achieved significant impact in Kenya with the completion of our flagship project in girls education. Before the project, many disabled girls were confined to their homes because of the stigma attached to disability and a lack of equipment and transport.

As a result of the project, 2,180 disabled girls now attend primary school; we are seeing positive learning outcomes for literacy and numeracy, and attitudes of teachers and parents have changed.

Fathers, in particular, are playing a more active and supportive role in their daughters’ education.

In Kenya, we are working with education officials to revise policy and teaching practices to promote an inclusive approach, demonstrating practically how best to support a quality education for disabled girls.

This year, our livelihoods and employment programmes supported more than 9,000 disabled people on the path to regular employment and income in eight middle and low income countries in Africa and Asia.

We continued to develop the skills of disabled people, many of whom had missed the opportunity to complete their education.

We also worked with employers at global and national levels to change negative attitudes towards disability, to promote a more diverse workforce.

Over the past year, we have taken an active role in influencing the disability agenda at a global level, as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are implemented by governments, donors and other organisations.

We participated in the global panel of the UN Girls Education Initiative; co-chaired the Global Campaign for Education policy groups, as well as the Bond Disability and Development Group.

We were a member of the board of the International Disability and Development Consortium. We deepened our partnerships with the World Bank, ILO and UNESCO, working with these partners to promote more effective approaches as part of global SDG efforts.

Our research centre hosted the secretariat of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics and continues to contribute to improving global data on disability which will influence future policies and approaches to ensure greater inclusion and independence for disabled people across the world.

Helen’s story

Helen sitting on a bench

Helen is from Kisumu, Kenya, and knows how important school is because through inclusive education, she’s realised just how far she can go in life.

Before Leonard Cheshire Disability got involved, Helen and her family couldn’t find a school that would let her enrol because of her physical disability. Her only way to get around was to crawl on the ground.

The schools were not interested in making any concessions for Helen because they believed that a girl with a disability had no need for an education. Her parents couldn’t afford special support so she was left alone at home, whilst her siblings went off to school.

Leonard Cheshire Disability provided her with an educational assessment, a pair of adjustable crutches to help her walk and physiotherapy. This strengthened her lower limbs and even though movement remains difficult, Helen is able to stand on her feet for the first time and move without crutches. With our help, she made it to school and began to progress.

‘Helen loves school so much and by going to school she has the hope that she can change our lives.’

— Rose, Helen's mother