Partnership with corporate sector helps integration of children with special needs in Kazakhstan
Special Olympics in Kazakhstan together with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) summed up the results of the joint activities in 2009 at Haileybury School in Almaty on 14 January 2010.
The companies which support the realization of Special Olympics programmes in Kazakhstan were awarded special diplomas.
Currently, there are 153,000 children with special needs in Kazakhstan, of them 3,500 are children with intellectual disabilities. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports, KazRosGaz, GSM-Kazakhstan, Procter and Gamble Kazakhstan and UNICEF are major partners of Special Olympics in participation and integration of children with intellectual disabilities in society.
“I am glad that our understanding of disability is changing slowly. Persons with special needs used to be regarded as objects of charity and passive recipients of welfare. This view is slowly giving way to a human rights-based approach. Thanks to the great support and contribution from the corporate sector, we are removing barriers in society and provide conditions so that children with special needs can become active members of society and enjoy the full range of their rights,” said at the awarding ceremony UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Hanaa Singer.
Hanaa Singer stressed the importance of UNICEF’s cooperation with Special Olympics in helping children with special needs to open up their inner potential. “We really appreciate our cooperation with Special Olympics, because we understand that involvement of children with special needs in sports creates miracles. You all know what magic changes have happened to your kids since they started going into sports. They just blossom and open up, because they see that they have abilities too!” said Hanaa Singer at the ceremony.
Also, Special Olympics and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports launched the preparations for the Open Winter Eurasian Olympiad, which will be held for the first time in Kazakhstan in 2012. Children with special needs who are members of Special Olympics Kazakhstan attended the event. Special Olympics is an international year-round sports organization for children with intellectual disabilities for children of eight years and above. Currently, over 2.23 million sportsmen are involved in 33 types of Olympic Games under Special Olympics programmes in 170 countries of the world on local, regional, national and international levels.
During 2009, with UNICEF’s technical and consultation support, Special Olympics held national tournaments on track and field athletics, table tennis and basketball among children with intellectual disabilities in Astana, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Semey, Karaganda and other cities. KazRosGaz, GSM-Kazakhstan, Procter and Gamble Kazakhstan were main sponsors of the events.
A global partnership to advance the rights of children with intellectual disabilities between UNICEF and Special Olympics International commenced in 2007 on the occasion of the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China, and continued with a series of events in Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Jamaica, Panama and Uzbekistan. This partnership promotes the participation and empowerment of children with intellectual disabilities and their families in their societies, including through sports, and will seek to build their self-reliance, confidence and advocacy skills.
For further information please contact:
Communications Department of UNICEF in Kazakhstan