Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Milestones in Advancing the Rights of Children with Disabilities in Sudan
UNICEF Sudan, along with national and international partners, including the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, and the Ministry of Education are working together to advance the rights of children with disabilities in Sudan. These efforts, supported by UNICEF National Committee in Sweden, are to address the issue of Children with disabilities in Sudan from different angles. “The voices of children with disabilities and parents can be loudly heard in the study, and it is time for us - all of us with a duty and obligation for the fulfilment of children’s rights - to listen and to learn”.
On 15 November a situational analysis on the rights of children with disabilities in Sudan was launched in a workshop that brought together more than 200 people representing government, NGOs, donors, UN agencies, as well as families of children with disabilities and the children with disabilities themselves. During the workshop, the findings of the research were presented and participating disabled children voiced their concerns and needs.
In his opening speech state, the Minister of Welfare and Social Security – Mr. Ibrahim Adam Ibrahim, thanked UNICEF for their support and welcomed the findings by stating, “this study is very important and we at the Ministry of Social Welfare will be the guarantor of the recommendations and the outcomes of this study and we are ready to implement them”. Moreover following the launch, the Government of Sudan pledged to improve the lives of children with disabilities.
From UNICEF side, the Head of protection in Sudan Mr Stephen Blight, underscored the importance of the role played by the children involved and their parents in the study, “the voices of children with disabilities and parents can be loudly heard in the study, and it is time for us - all of us with a duty and obligation for the fulfilment of children’s rights - to listen and to learn”.
Findings from the situation analysis underscored that education was routinely identified among children and families of children with disabilities as a priority. The Ministry of Education, with support from UNICEF, is currently addressing this issue through the development of a national strategy for inclusive and special needs education, to ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, will have access to education. Initial drafting of the strategy will occur during December and will bring together Ministry of Education personnel and stakeholders from all 17 states in Sudan.
Additionally, in celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNICEF has organized with Miracles Sudan and OVCI/USRATUNA – both NGOs working in the area of children with disabilities – for an open day event on 8 December 2012. The event will host different organisations and service providers for families of children with disabilities, and will highlight issues such as access, therapy, inclusion, health, and education.