Disability and inclusion

Everyone should be entitled to claim their human rights. Together, we can create a more equal world where everyone can access health care, education and employment without discrimination.

Enock attends an inclusive pre-school in Malawi.

Globally, billions of people are denied their rights because of disability or gender. Yet inclusion remains a neglected area of global development.

More than 800 million people with disabilities live in low and middle income countries. Many of them aren’t able to claim their rights, and face stigma that prevents them from fulfilling their potential.

Meanwhile, women and girls are more likely to live in extreme poverty than men. They often experience multiple forms of discrimination, and this increases their risk of disease, disability, violence and even death.

Upholding disability rights and ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion for all has been a vital part of Sightsavers’ work since we were founded in 1950.  Along with our partners and the support of our funders and donors, we fight for the rights of everyone to go to school, find a job, access the health care they need and take part fully in society.

We’re creating a world where no one is left behind.

We have a wealth of inclusion knowledge

Meet our experts

Why is inclusion so important?

Disability doubles a child’s chances of being out of school, and girls with disabilities face greater discrimination.

Globally, before the pandemic, an estimated one-third of children who were out-of-school had disabilities. School closures have led to a greater learning crisis and increased exclusion. It’s now estimated there are 250 million children out of school.

We believe every child has the right to education and, through our education work, we’ve shown that change is possible.

Sightsavers and inclusive education

While most of the 1.3 billion people with disabilities around the world are of working age, only about a third are in employment. Their chances to earn a living are often limited by stigma, discrimination and a lack of accessible workplaces.

We work with people to build their skills and confidence, and with businesses, governments and organisations of people with disabilities to create more inclusive employment and livelihood opportunities.

About our employment projects

Good health and wellbeing is a fundamental human right, allowing children to go to school and adults to earn a living.

But women, girls and people with disabilities often experience poorer health than their peers, often because of discrimination and stigma. More than 400 million people worldwide lack access to even basic health care. We believe everyone, wherever they live, should be able to receive quality, affordable care.

Our work on accessible health

In many countries, electoral systems and local development initiatives aren’t inclusive, meaning women and people with disabilities are often excluded.

We support everyone to participate in decision-making processes, advocate for local services and public policies to be more inclusive, and work in partnership with disability organisations to ensure people can make their voices heard.

About citizenship and political participation

It’s thought 340 million women will live in extreme poverty by 2030 unless action is taken.

Women often experience multiple forms of discrimination. This is compounded for women with disabilities, who face extra barriers because of the stigma around disability. That’s why upholding the rights of women and girls is critical in everything we do.

About our work with women and girls

How we’re fighting for disability rights

A man in a wheelchair is assisted by a health worker. There is no ramp to gain access into the building.

We help to provide health care for all

We work in partnership to make health facilities more accessible, train health care staff and help people make informed decisions about their health.
Our inclusive eye health projects

Nora teaching Glory, one of her students, how to count.

We ensure schools are inclusive

We work with parents, schools, local organisations and governments to ensure education systems are inclusive, so everyone can get a quality education.
Read about our work

Two young people hold up flip charts on the wall as part of a training programme in Kenya.

We train people with disabilities

We support people to increase their skills, and we work with companies to improve inclusion in workplaces so people with disabilities can progress in their career.
About our IT training programme

Nanny Powers holds her voting card.

We support political participation

We promote inclusive elections, work with local organisations and advocate for inclusive policies to ensure everyone can exercise their right to vote.
How we promote inclusive elections in East Africa

A close-up of a mobile phone being used by a health worker to record data.

We gather inclusive data

We are working to strengthen the collection, analysis and use of disability- and gender-inclusive data through our engagement with the Inclusive Data Charter.
Our approach to inclusive data

Shamima communicates with her sister. Her sister uses hand movements to get her point across. Both women are sitting down outside and wear bold, pink clothing.

We’re committed to gender equality

Our projects empower women and girls, particularly those with disabilities, and we influence global policy-making to ensure they can claim their rights.
About our work with women and girls

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We lead the Inclusive Futures initiative, providing guidance on inclusion for international development

About Inclusive Futures

How you can help

In many countries, women, girls and people with disabilities face stigma and discrimination every day and are denied basic human rights.

We need your support to change this.

By taking action – signing petitions, contacting your political representatives or sharing stories on social media – you’ll be using your voice to help us reach the widest possible audience and keep inclusion on the global agenda.

End is in sight logo

You can make a difference: Our Equal World campaign fights for the rights of people with disabilities to go to school, find a job and take part fully in society. Join our campaign

Learn about other ways we’re changing the world

What we do