Save the Children strives to ensure children with disabilities are included in all its overseas programs in areas of education, health and protection.
Save the Children Disability Inclusion Technical Advisor Susan McGowan said children with disabilities were less likely to attend school, more likely to be unemployed and generally earn less when employed.
"The awful truth is they are more likely to live in poverty as an adult,"
Ms McGowan said.
"There are more than one billion people globally living with a disability – including 150 million children. People with disabilities are excluded from the mainstream and must be empowered."
Ms McGowan said the statistics painted a tough picture of the opportunities for women and girls with disabilities – in developing countries just 32.9 per cent of girls with disabilities complete primary school.
"Yet we know that when women are empowered, communities are empowered and this is why it is vital that women with disabilities are given the opportunity to be included,"
Mr McGowan said.
Save the Children's work includes designing programs that promote opportunities for participation, decision-making and leadership. This includes:
- Protection of children with disabilities in Bangladesh
- A pilot program in the Solomon Islands using a play-based learning tool, called 'Reach and Match® Learning Kit', with children with disabilities
- Making the primary health care system inclusive and accessible in Laos
- An accelerating sign language program in Cambodia
Save the Children's Disability Inclusion Working Group is hosting a special morning tea with Maulani Rotinsulu, chair of the Indonesian Association of Women with Disabilities, at its Carlton head office on Tuesday
This year's International Day of People with Disabilities theme centres on transformation toward a sustainable and resilient society for all.
Call Alex Sampson on 0429 943 027 for interviews.