God Was Angry

Thousands of boys and girls with disabilities in Ethiopia are invisible in government statistics, unable to access health services, discriminated against by society and trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence. Only a fraction of children with disabilities are enrolled in formal education. Ethiopia, with a population over 100 million, only has 164 schools that serve students with hearing, visual and intellectual impairments.

The adolescents face systematic and violent abuse at home and in their communities; every third girl with a disability has been sexually abused. They are blamed for being different and feared because they are seen to be under the spell of ‘witchcraft’. One of the girls, who has been blind since birth, explains that disability comes with a heavy stigma: “They believe I was cursed with blindness because God was angry.”