World Autism Awareness Day: Improving the Lives of those with Disabilities Today is a poignant day here at EdUKaid, as we recognise the importance of accessibility in the classroom for all children. In conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day, we want to take this time to update you on our impact on the children living with disabilities in Southern Tanzania. But more importantly, to thank you for the support you have shown us over the years. Without you, none of this would have been possible. So, what exactly is this day all about? Each year on the 2nd of April, the UN encourages the international community to come together in recognition of people with autism and those who love and support them. This year there will be virtual events that will include panel discussion with individuals on the autism spectrum who have themselves experienced challenges in terms of accessibility and discrimination throughout their lives. The UN has acknowledged the importance of addressing these issues and has demonstrated its commitment to resolve problems surrounding inclusivity within its Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 10: to reduce inequality within and among countries by empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities. Why is it important to address these issues? On a global scale, It’s clear that these challenges have been exacerbated by the current Covid-19 pandemic. People with disabilities have been at greater risk to the dangers of this virus, but are also disproportionately compounded by many other factors, including: pre-existing conditions, inaccessibility to healthcare, and other services. Sadly, those most vulnerable to these risk factors are children living with disabilities, hence why it’s more important than ever to raise awareness and support these kids. It is truly unimaginable that a child would be hidden away and excluded from society because they are born with a disability but for so many in Tanzania this is the reality. In Tanzania research suggests that 0.35% of all children enrolled in primary school in Tanzania have a disability and shockingly, only 5% of those living with a disability are attending school. Our work in Tanzania plays a crucial role at tackling these inequalities in the classroom context, particularly for those children living with disabilities. These figures demonstrate the harsh reality of disabled children in Tanzania who are frequently stigmatised and more often than not hidden away from their communities. Shut-away from the rest of the world, the situation is further aggravated by school environments being physically inaccessible with untrained teachers who do not understand how to effectively engage these children. What have we accomplished with your support? At EdUKaid, our Inclusive Education Project was launched in 2019 to break down these barriers preventing the 95% of disabled children in Tanzania from accessing an education: To provide a holistic approach to meet the challenges experienced by these children, to dispel myths and challenge harmful cultural beliefs. Now, we can say with a humble heart that we have improved the lives of many children - despite turbulence along the way. One such child was Freddie, who enrolled in our local partner schools in March, 2020 and is receiving the attention he needs to thrive in the classroom. Freddie is just one example of how we, here at EdUKaid, make a big impact on people's lives in Tanzania. To-date we have: Provided support and resources to 273 children with special educational needs, Educated nearly 10,000 parents, guardians, non-disabled children and members of the wider community about the rights of marginalised children and the value of inclusion, Increased disabled children enrolling in our partner schools by an amazing 215% A 215% increase in the number of disabled children enrolled in these schools is incredible - a life changing achievement for these children and evidence that the future of all disabled children is hopeful. Your kindness and generosity has supported us with our vision where every child has access to the education they need to realise their full potential. So thank you, and let’s continue changing the lives of children like Freddie in the future. If you want to do more a regular gift can make all the difference.