The right to education for girls with disabilities
Around the world, girls with disabilities are being denied their right to an education. With a shortage of properly trained staff, inaccessible schools, and lack of appropriate learning resources, girls face barriers at every turn. Many have no choice but to drop out of school. It’s not their choice, and the cycle of poverty continues.
In Nepal, the story is no different. Girls growing up in poor families find the odds stacked against them - meaning an education is out of reach. Girls with disabilities face additional obstacles and getting an education is the best way to safeguard them from the dangers of forced marriage and gender-based violence, but most schools lack the resources or knowledge to support them. Dropping out of school leaves girls with disabilities vulnerable to gender-based violence and underage marriage. In Nepal, 1.3 million girls are married before the age of 15.
Izna, 13, was born with a hearing impairment. Although she was desperate to learn, her school lacked the resources to support her, and her teachers were unable to communicate with her. So Izna had no choice but to drop out of school.
VSO national volunteer, Nitin Singh, alongside Sign Language interpreter Deepa, taught Izna sign language so she could communicate with others, including her teachers and peers. He also assigned her a Big Sister called Tarannum who helps with her homework. Tarannum meets with the family often to help them understand what they can do to fully support Izna’s return back into education and keep her safe from the threat of forced marriage and gender-based violence.
Izna’s parents are so happy to see that she’s thriving in school. With VSO’s support, Izna has learned the alphabet and has moved onto maths, plus she loves reading and writing. Her family are now able to prioritise Izna’s education, and she’s gaining the confidence and skills to take control of her future.
Nitin, pictured, is a volunteer with VSO’s Empowering A New Generation of Adolescent Girls project which focuses on empowering young girls to get back into education and on the right path. Volunteers ensure that girls' needs are identified as early as possible, and work closely with them to ensure no girl is left behind in her education. Girls just like Izna.
Through ENGAGE, VSO volunteers are able to turn the tide against poverty, forced marriage, and gender-based violence for girls with disabilities. We’re creating opportunities for girls by getting them back into education and away from oppressive environments that keep them in the cycle of poverty. VSO volunteers are doing incredible work to help get girls with disabilities back into education, and they aim to transform the lives of over 2,500 girls. But there are still so many more who need our help. To donate click here.