It's about abilityGovernment of Montenegro, UNICEF and EU Delegation launch a three month awareness raising campaign on inclusion of children with disabilities PODGORICA, SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 – Mr. Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister, Mr. Leopold Maurer, Head of EU Delegation and Ms. Noala Skinner, UNICEF Montenegro Representative, will launch a three month awareness raising campaign “It’s about ability” on Friday, September 10 at 12.00 in the primary school “Pavle Rovinski” (Stari Aerodrom) in Podgorica.
The aim of the campaign is to promote inclusion of children with disabilities into society. Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice survey conducted among 1,000 citizens in all parts of Montenegro in August 2010 showed a considerable social distance towards children with disabilities.
Every second citizen thinks that children with disabilities should go to special educational institutions and that it is in their best interest to live in special institutions instead of being with their families. In contrast, fifty years of research demonstrates that children in institutions will not develop in the same way as children living in families. Normal child development requires frequent one-to-one interactions with a care-giver. Child placement, in any kind of institution, should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible.
The campaign “It’s About Ability” will be launched in one of primary schools that successfully implements inclusive education in Montenegro. Lazar Dragojevic, a boy with cerebral palsy, and Nadja Lausevic, his class-mate, will talk about their experiences related to inclusive education in the primary school “Pavle Rovinski”. Nikola Zekic, a visually-impaired boy, who attends the Music high school “Vasa Pavic” in Podgorica, will be playing the piano at the launch event.
The campaign’s key messages – Where many see difficulties, we see opportunities; where many see obstacles, we see friendship; where many see weakness, we see courage; and where many see burden, we see love – will be posted on billboards and city lights all over the country for 3 months in order to stimulate Montenegrin citizens to welcome children with physical and/or learning disabilities into their homes, communities and hearts without fear or prejudice.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child includes the principle of non-discrimination which calls for the same minimum standards for every child; that children be cared for by their parents, that all children have access to services, to protection and that their dignity be respected, no matter who is caring for them. Specifically, article 23 of the UN CRC refers to the rights of children with disabilities guaranteeing them the right to special care, education and training to help them enjoy a full and decent life in dignity and achieve the greatest degree of self-reliance and social integration possible. Ensuring the full enjoyment of their rights on an equal basis with other children is the responsibility not only of the government, but of every member of society.
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