Access to education is a human right. It supplies us with life skills and job opportunities and is essential in tackling global poverty.
Stella (pictured above), who's 17, lives in Cameroon and has a physical disability that makes it difficult for her to walk. Until last year, she'd never been to school.
In Cameroon, like many other countries, children with disabilities are often left behind when it comes to education. There can be many reasons contributing to this, including negative attitudes, families that worry they won't manage, and schools that aren't set up to support them.
Her mum Maniapi told us Stella was sad, lacked confidence and felt isolated. She also couldn't read or write. But an inclusive education project (supported by Sightsavers Ireland) has given Stella the chance to go to school and realise her potential. It has made a huge difference in her life and after one year of learning, writing has become her favourite subject!
Maniapi has seen first-hand the positive changes education has given Stella and is incredibly proud of her daughter's progress. "She does everything fast in order to go to school, and she is very happy," Maniapi says: "When she was young she wasn't brave at all, but now it is improving. We just want her to be brave."
Right now, in the world's poorest countries, there are millions of children with disabilities who are missing out on their right to education.
It doesn't have to be this way. With your support, a world where people with disabilities can claim their rights to education, employment, health care and full participation in society can be a reality.
It's unacceptable that in 2019 disability rights is something we still have to fight for. But if enough of us raise our voices, together we can create a movement for change.
Join Sightsavers today in calling on the UN and its member states, including Ireland, to uphold the rights of people with disabilities and make sure they're prioritised in global development.