|© UNICEF video|
|UNICEF’s Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Maria Calivis, during a visit to Russia’s North Caucasus republics.|
By Andrei Muchnik
VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia, Russian Federation, 29 May 2008 – UNICEF’s Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Maria Calivis, recently visited UNICEF projects in Russia’s North Caucasus region.
During talks with the heads of three republics – Taymuraz Mamsurov of North Ossetia, Ramzan Kadyrov of the Chechen Republic and Mukhu Aliev of Dagestan – Ms. Calivis noted the marked change in UNICEF’s programmes over the past nine years.
Since 1999, the organization has helped implement $55 million worth of projects in the North Caucasus in partnership with local governments, as well as international and local non-governmental organizations. Now, UNICEF’s focus has shifted from humanitarian assistance to support that is oriented more towards development and sustainability.
The right to education
Long-term sustainability is secured by transferring project operations to local entities. In Beslan, North Ossetia, for example, where deep scars were left after the school siege in 2004, UNICEF established and supports the Binonta rehabilitation centre. The facility, where children can play and relieve stress together with their family members, will soon be run by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development in North Ossetia.
In Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, Ms. Calivis visited an inclusive education project where disabled and otherwise challenged children learn alongside their peers – a new model for most of the former Soviet Union.
“My job throughout the world in each and every country is, with UNICEF, to ensure that all children, whatever their background, whatever their physical condition, have the same right for a good education,” said Ms. Calivis.
|© UNICEF Russia/2008/Muchnik|
|Students celebrate the opening of a new inclusive class at School #18 in Grozny, the Chechen Republic|