Special Needs Support


Addis Ababa University (AAU), which was founded by Emperor Haileselassie I in 1950, established its first ever Center for Students with Disabilities under the Dean of Students only in 2006. The Office is currently called Special Needs Support Office and is accountable to the Academic Vice President of the University.

The Special Needs Support Office provides various services for its students with disabilities (SwDs) with the following vision, mission and objectives.


“Creating Barrier Free Addis Ababa University Starts Today!”


The vision of AAU SNSO is to realize the full inclusion of SwDs in the academic arena at AAU and to create a database of classroom Lectures/ Interactions accessible to SwDs online.


AAU SNSO has the mission to optimize SwDs potential by assisting them in academic, social, emotional, etc. competencies and to support disability-specific needs. By doing so, it is possible to enrich the academic performance and social adjustment of SwDs in the University as well as in their educational experiences, which in turn will help them achieve academic and ethical excellence throughout their career. Moreover, AAU SNSO has the mission to provide learning opportunities that could help SwDs to develop specific skills and competencies.

Objectives/ major tasks of AAU SNSO

AAU SNSO has the general objective of creating inclusive environment of higher education and employment. It has the following specific objectives:

  1. Awareness raising
  2. Promoting disability rights (advocacy work)
  3. Expanding adaptive technology
  4. Supporting with educational materials
  5. Supporting with prosthetic materials
  6. Confidence building among SwDs


The AAU SNSO works in partnership with:

    • The Ethiopian Center for Disability Development (ECDD)
    • The Adaptive Technology  Center for  the Blind (ATCB)
    • Mamo Kacha Foundation
    • The Special Needs Education Department
    • The Austrian Development  Aid through Vienna University  (VU)
    • Kentalis International, in Collaboration with the Ethiopian Sign Language and Deaf   Culture Department
    • AAU Gender Office
    • Other Departments where SwDs are enrolled
  • Handicap International

Awards and Membership:

  • Certificate of Appreciation by USAID
  • University Member of Deafblind International

The office is currently run by one officer and a coordinator.

Current Director:

Dr. Yirgashewa Bekele


Campus: Main (Sidist Kilo)

Building: Nelson Mandela

Floor: Ground

Tel:  +251- 111- 222737 (Office)