Kazakhstan launches national initiative to empower people with disabilities
ASTANA, Kazakhstan, 31 October 2013 - Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of People has carried out the first ever five-month long national contest called “RAZNIYE-RAVNIYE” (Different but equal) among adults, NGOs and children with disabilities.
The contest which started in June and culminated with a gala on 24 October in Astana, was well supported by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which provided technical expertise over the process and developed the logo of the inclusive society, relevant video spots and posters. This was the first-ever massive national campaign for and with people with disabilities, for which local and central authorities mobilized their resources and which gave an opportunity for people with disability to demonstrate their abilities.
The launched campaign builds on strengths and resiliency of children and persons with disabilities and involvement of the community in creating the society of equal opportunities through publicizing talents, erudition, and creativity of persons and families who have members with disabilities, as well as public associations which carry out significant activities to include into society people with disabilities.
The contest started in the regions and the finals were held in Astana. The regional stage involved around 6,000 people aged 6-45, youth and public organizations set up by people with disabilities. After having won the regional contests, over 500 people, including those with disabilities and those who accompany them, gathered in Kazakhstan’s capital for the final stage in order to compete in the named nominations.
A conference on social projects was held as part of the final stage of the contest, which convened representatives of the Kazakhstan Government, Parliament, Presidential Administration and international organizations. Different social projects from across the country for educating, empowering, engaging and employing people with disabilities were presented at the conference.
“We want to hold this contest every three years, because [people with disabilities] have to prepare, however, we will hold conferences on the best [social] projects every year,” said Minister of Labour and Social Protection of People of Kazakhstan.
It is estimated that there are 609,000 of persons with disabilities (3,6%) in Kazakhstan including 151,216 children (3%). In 2008 the country has signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities and its Optional Protocol. Having adopted the “2012-2018 Action Plan for Ensuring the Rights and Improving the Quality of Life of Persons with Disabilities” which among others aims at promoting inclusive society Kazakhstan is steadily moving towards ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities.
The winner in the nomination “The best performer” from East Kazakhstan Region Marat Aliaskarov has never even imagined that he would perform on the scene in Astana, and he advises all not to be afraid but take part in this contest, because everyone has the right to participate.
The end of the contest was timed to coincide with the day of the workers of the social protection system, which is marked in Kazakhstan on the last Sunday of October.
In the meanwhile, UNICEF will continue advocating for further development of inclusive communities in Kazakhstan fit for all children including children with disabilities.