Improving access to education for children with disabilities in Oudomxay

Start Date


Completion Date:

2013 (currently on-going)

Programme Partners:

Oudomxay provincial branch of the Laos Disabled People’s Association. (ODPA)

Programme budget


Programme funders:

EU Non State Actors: €388,677

Toyota Foundation Yen 1,800,000

Various UK trusts: €129,559


Lao PDR: Oudomxay province.


Summary of programme.

Overall objective: to improve the learning performance, social confidence, and social integration of children with disabilities/special needs by reducing barriers to education in Oudomxay Province.

The specific objectives are to:

(i)   Build the capacity of Oudomxay Disabled People’s Association (ODPA) as a leading advocate and support for children with disabilities and their parents in Oudomxay Province, developing a base of valuable knowledge about the situation of education of CWDs, enhancing skills within the organisation to support parents and address issues facing parents, to monitor delivery of education to CWDs, and developing its institutional capacities to provide a central point for the delivery of services to children and people with disabilities.

(ii)  Empower parents of children with disabilities, improving their parenting skills and understanding of their responsibilities to their children, and developing their skills as advocates working to secure the best education for their children. 

(iii) Initiate a process of institutional change in at least 105 schools, at up to 5 pre-schools, and within Oudomxay Education Services (PES) and 7 District Education Bureaus, towards more open and better delivery of education and social inclusion for children with disabilities.

(iv) Raise awareness among communities and authorities of the importance of disability-friendly education and social inclusion of children with disabilities.

(v)  Demonstrate the benefits of parent empowerment as an essential process


This project is designed to promote a participatory planning and decision-making process involving district level stakeholders, and specifically and directly including the families of CWDs and communities. This project therefore gives a focus of developing and supporting a network of parents and communities with the ODPA as a focal point for this process. The project will develop the capacity of this network and will also support small subprojects/actions initiated by the parent groups to advocate for and implement innovative community-based activities promoting inclusive education and social inclusion. This will empower parents and local communities for planning and implementing activities to benefit children with disabilities.

Activities include:

·         Mobilizing and empowering  parents of children with disabilities in Oudomxay:  rk.

·         Raise awareness of issues and rights of education for children with disabilities and issues parenting a disabled child:

·         Promote/advocate for and improved rights of parents of children with disabilities and their children:

·         Practical support to schools to become disabled-child friendly:

·         Develop the capacity of the LDPA: to become the leading organization representing parents of children with disabilities.


Results & Impact


This programme is working across 7 districts of Oudomxay Province. In the early phases of the project a detailed survey was completed by the ODPA across 120 villages and 194 schools providing a baseline of education for children with disabilities in Oudomxay. Selected results from the survey include:


  • 78% of children classified as ‘with severe disabilities’ do not receive an education; and 25% of those children classified as ‘with mild disabilities’ do  not attend school.
  • 48% of interview respondents recorded negative attitudes of community members to disability.
  • 40% had problems making friends with their able-bodied peers
  • 22% expressed real problems in accessing schools
  • 67% of schools in the area have no toilet, or toilet facilities that are not accessible to children with physical disabilities.
  • 5% of children with disabilities covered under this survey dropped out of school in that year, because they found it too difficult to learn (34%), access was prohibitive ( 17 %), or the children were unhappy and wanted to leave (28%).
  • 29% of schools had had some basic training in providing appropriate education for children with disabilities.
  • Some 22% of children expressed difficulties in accessing school;
  • 67% of schools either have no toilet, or a toilet that is difficult to access, further limiting the ability of CWD to attend school regularly.


The full survey report can be seen here.

Other results from this programme will be posted here soon.