Living with a disability or stigma can be challenging. These girls are being left behind.

Girls like Fatimata are being denied their rights to be safe, included and heard, simply because they have a disability or another condition. Will you donate today and help?

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Watch Fatimata’s story Play Video

Fatimata is 17-years-old and is like most teenagers. She loves to play and tell stories with her friends. But she had to flee her home due to conflict and violence, and now lives in a refugee camp in Burkina Faso with her family.

Dealing with the trauma of conflict and the challenges that comes with being a teenager living in a refugee camp is concerning enough. But Fatimata also faces another unique challenge.

She lives with a condition called albinism, which is caused by a mutation in genes that affects the production of melanin in the body. Low or deteriorating eyesight is also a common health implication from the condition.

Despite her condition not affecting her abilities, and being a happy and outgoing teenager, Fatimata’s pale skin, hair and eyes has seen her experience exclusion and stigma.

Could you imagine navigating exclusion and stigma, and being separated from everything you once knew?

The lack of knowledge about albinism also sees long-held superstitious beliefs in the community emerge which can sometimes lead to physical attacks on the individual.

Her mother recalls the rejection from other children and her community.

She is not like other children because her skin is very sensitive to sunlight. When she arrived…she was rejected, the other children were afraid of her

It is heart breaking to hear this from Fatimata’s mother, who only wants the best for her children. Without a chance to go to school, displaced and isolated from her new community, Fatimata is at risk of being left behind.

Then Plan International came to her community and provided her with a safe space. We set up an accessible temporary learning centre in the camp. Stocked with inclusive learning materials and toys, the centre provides a safe place to all children living through crisis.

The temporary learning centre has been a lifeline for Fatimata.

Will you support girls like Fatimata to break the stigma and live the life they want?

We need to challenge systems and attitudes that hold girls with disabilities back

Too often, we hear stories about girls with disabilities or other conditions being left behind.

Negative stereotypes, fear of judgement and even abuse from the community can mean parents keep their children isolated at home. And girls often have no say in decisions that affect their lives.

This doesn’t just harm their self-worth. It excludes girls from society, removes their agency, raises their risk of violence and exploitation and stops them pursuing their dreams.

By standing with girls and supporting them to live the lives they chose, we’re working towards a better, more equal world for all. Because a better now for her means a better future for everyone. Will you help?

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You can help girls with disabilities be safe, included and heard

We know that all parents want to see their children thrive. But globally, not all communities are equipped to support girls with disabilities, especially displaced communities. That’s where you come in.

By donating today, you can help support girls with disabilities – and children all over the world – to live without violence or exclusion, to go to school, and to be heard. Here’s how.

  • Helping children with disabilities access inclusive education that is adequately set up for their needs. This can include redesigning schools with ramps, setting up vocational training for girls who have previously been denied an education, or extra resources in Braille. It also involves engaging parents to show them their child’s disability does not have to hold them back.
  • Keeping girls safe by child protection systems cater for the unique needs of girls with disabilities and other conditions. This means that community leaders, police and other protection representatives are educated on the risks facing these girls, and adequately resourced to protect them.
  • Inclusive support of girls with disabilities living through crises, be they conflict, natural disasters or pandemics. This includes setting up temporary learning spaces stocked with learning materials and toys. Plan International staff ensure information and supplies are tailored for girls who are blind, deaf or experiencing another disability, so no one is left behind during a conflict and displacement.

Because of their age, gender and ability, girls living with disabilities and other conditions can face triple the discrimination. During times of conflict and displacement, this danger is even greater. Will you help?

Donate today to help girls stay safe, included and heard