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Tinotenda is a talented girl from Zimbabwe who dreams of being an artist.

A little girl in school uniform smiles. She has a bubble bottle in her hands.

Tinotenda is a ten-year-old girl living in a beautiful national park in Zimbabwe. Although her journey to school is filled with incredible landscapes, she can only see some of the beauty around her because she has myopia (short-sightedness). 

But just a short few years ago, Tinotenda’s life was very different. She attended a school where her myopia wasn’t recognised or understood. As a result, Tinotenda was left abandoned at the back of the classroom, unable to clearly see her teacher or the words written on the board. 

“I have a disability that I can’t really see well. I can only see up close. If something is far away I can’t quite see. It is very difficult for me to see especially when I am sitting far away and when Madame is teaching I might not see the words.”

Tinotenda’s life changed completely when she moved to a disability-inclusive school. Her new teacher understands how her eyesight affects her education and goes to great pains to make sure she can read and be included as much as possible. 

Now Tinotenda loves learning, especially making art: in fact, she wants to be an artist when she grows up! 

Students sit at their desks in a classroom.

“Madame actually makes me sit on the front row so I can see better. Any time we change classrooms she asks me if I can see well – if I say “no” she says “come and sit close” where I can see. And she is very kind. In my old school, they didn’t quite help me.”

As wonderful as this change has been for Tinotenda, a visit to the eye doctor revealed that she needs glasses to help with her vision. Otherwise, her eyesight could get worse very quickly. 

Like millions of girls with disabilities in the world’s poorest places, Tinotenda’s family in Zimbabwe are unable to afford something as simple as a pair of glasses.  

Without glasses, Tinotenda will continue to struggle to read her books or the chalkboard. Without extra support, she will miss out on her vital education and be denied the opportunity to build a better future for herself and her family. 

A simple thing like glasses, which so many of us take for granted, could transform her world. 

There are thousands of children just like her who miss out on school because of their disability. But with your support, we can help more children with disabilities access an inclusive education so they can reach their full potential and pursue their dreams. 

How you can help

We work with local partners in some of the poorest communities across Africa and Asia to help children with disabilities access good quality education. 

By training teachers, adapting schools to be more accessible, providing aids like glasses to children who need them, and challenging stigma that sometimes says children with disabilities shouldn’t go to school, we can help thousands of children into education. 

Together, we can help more children with disabilities go to school, learn and thrive.  

All photos: ©CBM UK/Thabani

Tinotenda sits at a table with a pen in her hand. There are other students sat in the background.

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Too many girls with disabilities are missing out on an education. Help us change that.