A sneak peek at Perkins’ latest work in Africa

Innovation, access and lifelong learning will drive the conversation at 7th Africa Forum summit

Students in blue school uniforms work in a crowded classroom.

Innovation, access and lifelong learning will drive the conversation at 7th Africa Forum summit.

August 8, 2019

Perkins School for the Blind has long worked throughout Africa, as it has around the world, to empower children with disabilities, their families, communities and teachers. 

This year, the organization, as a member of the Africa Council and in collaboration with the African Union, is co-hosting the 7th Africa Forum to further that work. Set in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the event will unite hundreds of special education, governmental, medical and other leaders to advance the rights of all children who are blind, deafblind or have multiple disabilities. 

Slated to take place from October 7-11, the summit will most pointedly feature expert-led discussions on innovation, access and lifelong learning – and how they relate to Africa realizing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4, which guarantees a quality education to all children by 2030.

Want to learn more about this year’s Africa Forum and the great work to come? Check out five session summaries below that highlight what makes this event a premiere special education summit. 

1 | Collaboration And Coordination: The principles underlying the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

Presented by Tracy Vaughan Gough, Sightsavers, UK

Disabled Persons Organizations, NGOs and the private sector share an obligation to support governments as they work to fulfill their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations. To do that, every stakeholder must provide tangible and coherent solutions to myriad challenges, including competing priorities and resource constraints. This session will explore how.

2 | Exploring job opportunities for persons with visual impairment after college graduation 

Presented by Helen Tilahun, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia

Employment is a fundamental human right, irrespective of a person’s sex, race or disability. Yet unemployment runs rampant in vulnerable communities. There are many ways to make employment more accessible and more open to people with disabilities. This session will explore the availability of employment opportunities after college graduation.

3 | Web developers without sight: A case study in making the web more accessible

Presented by Bazil Onen, Oysters & Pearls Uganda, Uganda

The web is arguably the greatest invention of our time. The speed at which the web is evolving, however, leaves users with disabilities constantly fighting for the most basic of digital accommodations. This presentation will discuss why it’s so critical to include people with visual impairment in web experiences and how developers can create a more inclusive web. 

4 | Ensuring access to instructional materials for learners with visual impairment

Presented by Celine Mutisya, Kenya Institute for the Blind, Kenya

Worldwide, 91 percent of school-aged children are enrolled in educational institutions, according to UNICEF. We cannot say conclusively, however, that effective learning is occurring in many of these places. This is because mere access to educational institutions is only one aspect of creating educational parity. It’s also essential to address other factors, like the lack of adequate instructional materials for learners with visual impairment, that serve to uphold educational inequality.

5 | Challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in accessing education 

Presented by Esther Mbite, Malawi Union of the Blind Youth Wing, Malawi

Speaker Esther Mbite will explore the persistence of discrimination on the basis of sex and disability. Through the lens of her own experience, she’ll also show how, when given adequate resources, a supportive environment and ample learning opportunities, young women with disabilities have as much potential as anyone. 

Stay tuned for the full, detailed program. Want to attend this year’s Africa Forum? Secure your spot between now and September 30.