Parents, children and teachers team up with UNICEF to launch the State of World's Children 2013 Report in Croatia: Children with disabilities are our untapped potential
ZAGREB, 12 June 2013 - Elementary school Marija Juric Zagorka in Zagreb hosted the national launch of the State of World's Children Report. This school carries a title “A School without Barriers” and has more than 10 years of experience in inclusive education for children with disabilities. Out of 880 students enrolled, 65 are with various disabilities.
Children’s flm making group from school produced a film on how inclusion works in their school titled "Brašnići“ which was screened at the press conference launching State of World's Children Report 2013 in Croatia.
In Croatia, around 33 852 children live with different disabilities, and more than one third live in Zagreb and Splitsko-dalmatinska County. Even 40 per cent of children have multiple disabilities. According to the available dates, 22 396 are included in the specialised education, but many still lack the education opportunity and inclusion in the regular schooling system.
Latest UNICEF survey about parenting in Croatia, indicated that parents of children with disabilities are under greater stress and their living costs are much higher compared to other families.
Another vulnerable group among children with disabilities is more than 920 children with disabilities living in institutions. More than one third of those children usually spend more than 10 years in institutions and in some instances their whole lives. Children with disabilities are placed in institutions due to lack of support and community based services for families, lack of inclusion of children in the regular education system, including kindergarten, neglect and abuse as well as lack of alternative placement services for children with disabilities.
“Exclusion of children with disabilities deprives them of the benefits education gives to all children – like working skills and knowledge, social and economic security and independence, as well as opportunities to participate fully in the lives of their communities. At the moment, they are the untapped potential of Croatian society.
On the other hand, investment in education of children with disabilities can contribute to their working skills and potential. In this school today we witness how all children and teachers benefit from inclusive education and integration of children with disabilities. Furthermore, children growing up in inclusive schools one day will become advocates and teachers of inclusion themselves.” Đurđica Ivković, acting Head of UNICEF Croatia Office stated at the launch.