Barriers to education for children with disabilities
Of the millions of children who do not complete elementary school in West Africa each year, one third suffer from a disability. Their condition means they are confronted with many barriers to education. Firstly, children with disabilities are difficult to identify; many of their families hide them because they doubt the children will be able to integrate socially. Secondly, countries in the region generally do not have the infrastructure or care services needed to physically and psychologically prepare these children for school and support them while there. Moreover, teachers are not trained in teaching methods that would ensure the classroom integration of these children. As part of its inclusive education programme, Handicap International seeks to remove the many barriers to the education of 170 000 children with disabilities in nine West African countries. The activities include increasing awareness among families and communities about the challenges of being disabled, collecting data on populations with disabilities, and training teachers on how to individually support children with disabilities.