Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Making schools accessible for children with physical disabilities in Afghanistan

Accessibility Organization for Afghan Disabled (AOAD) is a non-governmental organization established by persons with disabilities that is working as a peer-supporter and advocacy outlet in Kabul, Afghanistan. The project addresses the need for accessible school buildings for children with disabilities by developing inclusive educational environments with accessible ramps, handrails, washing rooms, and drinking water installations. As a result, from 2013 to 2016 more than 3,000 children with disabilities were able to access education. Furthermore, the project has expanded to other Afghan regions of the country.

“Now many children with disabilities in the war-torn country of Afghanistan can continue their education, and their parents’ and community’s mindset has changed with seeing and believing. ”

Abdul Khaliq ZazaiExecutive Director and Founder, AOAD
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Making schools accessible for children with physical disabilities in Afghanistan
Organisation:Accessibility Organization for Afghan Disabled
Country
of Implementation
Afghanistan

FACTS & FIGURES

From the beginning of the project in 2007 the following results have been achieved:

  • 108 staff members with disabilities from various schools have benefited from the provided accessible facilities.
  • To date, approximately 100 schools have been adapted.
  • By the end of 2017, 4000 children with disabilities have enrolled in schools.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

As a result of war and other uncertainties over the last four decades, there are currently some 280,000 children with physical disabilities in Afghanistan; and most public buildings, including schools, are not equipped with physical accessibility features.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

AOAD is the first national organization to introduce Universal Design and to create accessible educational environments for children with disabilities. To make public schools accessible, AOAD reached out to accessibility consultations, and local assessments were conducted. The organization then enabled the better inclusion of children with disabilities by equipping schools with accessible ramps, handrails, washing rooms, and drinking water installations. To date, approximately 100 schools have been adapted.
The project removed some of the problems of a marginalized, vulnerable, and excluded group in communities where it was implemented. Furthermore, it improved the overall living conditions of people with disabilities and strengthened their independent movement in society.
As a result, more than 3,000 children with disabilities have been able to attend school and access education, and 108 staff members (including teachers) were given trainings and workshops on the facilities provided. The project has created awareness among policy makers, and a regulation with new building codes for physical accessibility regarding public buildings was introduced.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

The project receives funding from the non-profit organizations Association for Aid and Relief Japan, ABILIS Foundation from Netherland and Cordaid from Holland; the embassies of France, Finland and the Netherlands in Afghanistan; the United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan and the US Department of State Weapons Removal Abatement (WRA) . The organization has further expanded its project to other provinces, including Pawan, Laghman, Nengarhar, Kuner, Helmand, and Herat. Other countries in the region, such as Pakistan, India, Iran, and Tajikistan, have also shown interest.

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