Award-winning disability activist and television presenter Sophie Morgan is to front a BBC Radio 4 appeal for charity Leonard Cheshire’s Inclusive Education in Zambia campaign.
The campaign goes live on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow (Sunday 6th January), commencing a month of activity. The radio station will be raising awareness and funds for Leonard Cheshire’s work in Zambia, where the charity supports hundreds of children with disabilities to get a place in mainstream school.
Former reality TV star Sophie Morgan has established an impressive television career. Most notably, she was Channel 4’s lead broadcaster, presenting live coverage of the 2016 summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. She also reported for Channel 4’s award-winning current affairs series Unreported World.
In 2015, Morgan presented the cutting-edge BBC documentary The World’s Worst Place to be Disabled (2015), which raised the issue of human rights abuses towards disabled people in Ghana. You can watch a clip from the show below.
Sophie is paralysed from the chest down, having suffered a T6 spinal cord injury aged 18 in a 2003 car crash. She has seen experience of the stark reality of disability in Africa and is acutely aware of the situation for the country’s young disabled children.
She says: “As a reporter, I have witnessed first-hand how the stigma attached to disability can lead to devastating consequences. As someone with a disability, I believe there is no greater casualty of such prejudice and discrimination than disabled children.
Across Africa, children with physical, sensory and intellectual impairments are being left behind, and often even the simplest solutions can make all the difference. Where these solutions matter most is in schooling, without which generations of disabled children will fail to live the life they deserve.”
Leonard Cheshire’s Inclusive Education campaign
Leonard Cheshire’s inclusive education projects in Africa and Asia have supported more than 30,000 children to get into education. Only 10% of children with disabilities attend school globally, and the literacy rate for adults with disabilities is a shocking 3%.
Women with disabilities are even more disadvantaged, and young girls growing up with disabilities in Africa can suffer the most intense stigma. In some cases, this includes sexual violence.
In Zambia, disabled children are often denied a place in mainstream school. The Zambian project will see Leonard Cheshire’s work expand to the Eastern Province of the country for the first time, reaching 750 children across 30 primary schools.
It will also train 100 teachers and education officials, providing them with the tools needed to ensure inclusive learning. Furthermore, it will work with parents and pupils, running child-to-child clubs and encouraging male mentors to reduce stigma.
The appeal will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at the following times:
- Sunday 6th Jan – 07:54am
- Sunday 6th Jan – 21:25pm
- Thursday 10th Jan – 15:27pm
By Carrie Aimes
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