15 February 2022 - Global

Save the Children commits to ensure children with disabilities get fairer treatment

4 year old Zainab* attending a class for deaf children, close to Kabul.

4-year-old Zainab* attending a class for deaf children, close to Kabul.

On the eve of the second Global Disability Summit (GDS), Save the Children’s CEO, Inger Ashing said:

“One in 10 children has a disability. These children are more likely to have their rights denied than children without disabilities. They are more likely to be discriminated against, to suffer violence at home or school, and to be malnourished. It’s a situation that’s unjust and unfair, and it needs to change.

“As the world’s leading child rights organisation, Save the Children has a responsibility to play its part and ensure that children with disabilities and their families can benefit from our and our partners’ activities on an equal basis as children without disabilities. Working in over 120 countries, often in partnerships with governments and civil society, we have a unique opportunity to contribute to ending this unfair reality. I’m proud to say in recent years, we have taken important steps to do this.

“Last year, we launched our new Disability Inclusion Policy, which lays out how Save the Children will work systematically across our programmes and all our offices to promote the inherent dignity, individual autonomy and independence of both adults and children with disabilities. 

“Also last year, together with partners, we launched the first comprehensive guideline for Disability Inclusive Child Safeguarding, which works to combat the specific risks faced by children with disabilities while participating in mainstream humanitarian and development programs.

“And next month, we’re proud to be launching our Inclusive Education Resources and Toolkit that provides resources for teachers and humanitarian workers to help ensure all learners with disabilities have the opportunity to learn, regardless of their disability or where they are in the world.

“I am proud to see the whole Save the Children movement stand behind our important commitments. I urge governments and other civil society organisations to set their ambitious targets, to ensure children with disabilities are given the same opportunities to reach their potential as any other child.”

At the Global Disability Summit, Save the Children will pledge 12 commitments the organisation will drive together with others, aimed to further enhance the agency's work on disability inclusion across all aspects of its programming.

The 12 commitments are to

  • Contribute to improved early intervention and referral systems for children with disabilities in humanitarian and development contexts to strengthen access to health, education and assistive technology, ensuring that children with disabilities reach their full potential.
  • Strengthen inclusive health systems that provide access to general health care and specialised services and programmes related to disability-specific health requirements
  • Protect persons with disabilities from violence, exploitation and abuse
  • Protect children with disabilities, especially girls, from violence, exploitation and abuse, including through disability-inclusive child protection interventions and gender-based violence risk mitigation activities.
  • Promote and contribute to improved disability-inclusive child safeguarding systems across humanitarian and development action.
  • Promote underrepresented groups and address intersectionality
  • Support partnerships with other social movements
  • Support the building of a diverse disability rights movement and OPDs, including underrepresented groups
  • Build capacity on inclusive education in the education workforce
  • Strengthen targeted support for learners with disabilities
  • Make disability inclusion an integral part of shock-responsive social protection systems, for more inclusive emergency preparedness, response and recovery
  • Make humanitarian action inclusive of persons with disabilities throughout the humanitarian programme cycle

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Content and case studies of children with disabilities supported in Afghanistan here

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