This Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) shines a spotlight on the promises made by governments during the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference to work towards financing public, equitable, inclusive and free education for all.

GAWE is about citizens taking action to hold governments to account. For CAMFED, it’s also about working with governments to reach the most marginalized — children with disabilities — and share the expertise of those with lived experience, who are helping to make inclusive education a reality.

My desire for every child with a disability is access. Once we achieve access to education for all children, opportunities will open up to them. With education, young people living with disabilities have a much better chance of gaining financial independence.

Primrose Mandishona, CAMFED alumna, physiotherapist and disability activist

CAMFED supports clients with disability aids across our countries of operation, but the resource challenge calls for an intensified programme tackling the additional barriers to education disabled children face. Through one such programme in Zimbabwe, we have supported nearly 250 students living with disabilities to date, enabling their transition from primary to secondary school and to sit their O-Levels.

At the same time, we are working with statutory and research partners to drive forward the interlinked actions necessary to achieve transformational and cost-effective education for children with disabilities, and advocate for inclusive education globally.

At the first Disability Summit held by the British Embassy and the Department for International Development (DFID) in Zimbabwe on April 17th this year, CAMFED joined other stakeholders and partners committed to raising the profile and urgency of social and educational inclusion.

At the event, a precursor to the Global Disability Summit due to be held in London this July, CAMFED Zimbabwe’s National Director Faith Nkala joined fellow CAMFED alumna Primrose Mandishona to highlight the transformational power of education for persons with disabilities.

CAMA member Primrose, a disability activist, spoke at the Disability Summit in Zimbabwe alongside other passionate activists who are changing perceptions and rallying for more resources to support those hardest to reach.

Primrose at work when she first joined the physiotherapy profession in Zimbabwe after her own long journey.  Photo: CAMFED/Mark Read.

Primrose, who has been disabled since she was nine months old, today works as a physiotherapist and uses her own experience to support children facing similar challenges.

Our conversation continues this Global Action Week at a special workshop on Accelerating Equitable and Quality Education for Children with Disabilities, hosted by the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge in preparation for the DFID Global Disability Summit.  

At the summit, CAMA leaders like Primrose will underscore the life experience and expertise so crucial to the success of this global effort: “I had the experience and now I understand the theory,” she says. “My success has allowed me to fight for the rights of children in similar circumstances to mine. I hope all those living with disabilities will be encouraged in education and employment, so they can join me to create positive change.”

Read Primrose’s blog: Growing up with a disability did not stop me becoming who I am today

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