Closing the education gap for girls with disabilities in Pakistan

04 December 2023 by Sadia Hussain, Girls' Education Challenge

Khalida is a 19-year-old young woman living in the Kashmore District of Pakistan. She is a survivor of Hepatitis which has affected her vision and her ability to walk. When ACTED opened a Learning Centre in her community, Khalida was excited to be enrolled. However, her family were concerned for her safety and they were also worried that her illness would lead to bullying by the other students.

ACTED’s Closing the Gap project supported out-of-school adolescent girls to receive an education through non-formal routes, offering literacy and numeracy skills, vocational training and support in transitioning to formal education or work.

When the ACTED teachers and Community Mobilisers visited Khalida’s village and met members of the community, they outlined the importance of educating girls, along with the positive impact that this could have on the wider community. They gave them assurances that girls would be safe in the Centre and that they would receive help to remove any functional obstacles. This strategy of engaging with parents and community members was successful and Khalida was supported to attend the Centre.

Khalida’s enrollment completely changed her life. She gained basic literacy and numeracy skills and gained in confidence. She was given adapted textbooks with large text to improve their readability. She was positioned near the whiteboard. Her education helped her integrate with other girls from her community and her classmate girls brought her to class every day as she required help walking to the Centre.  

Khalida is very happy now. She is getting married to a person who is excited to be with an educated woman. Khalida says that her learning experience has transformed her life and her future. She is a strong campaigner for girls’ education in her community and advocates for children with disabilities. She encourages parents not to hold their children back from education because of an obstacle that can be removed with a little help from the community.