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“Abilities are limitless”: Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNICEF launch campaign on children with disabilities

BAKU, 1 June 2011 – Today, on international children’s day, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNICEF launch the campaign “Abilities are Limitless” aimed at combatting discrimination against children with disabilities.

For the next six months the campaign – through special events, TV Public Service Announcements, billboards and other communication materials – will encourage integration and social inclusion of children with disabilities, nationwide.

Approximately 56,000 children are registered as having some sort of disability in Azerbaijan. Only about 6,000 children with disabilities receive education in special schools and 11,000 receive a home education.

“Discrimination experienced by children with disabilities affects them in so many ways: it can harm their health and limit their educational achievement; it often stops them being able to enjoy life because it limits their opportunities to play and interact with other children, and it can put them at a higher risk of violence, abuse and exploitation,” says Mark Hereward, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan. “We want this campaign to help change attitudes of parents and others – including teachers and health workers. We want to see an environment where children with disabilities are valued and cherished like any other child.”

Disability is defined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007) as including persons “who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

Azerbaijan ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009 and is embarking upon a variety of measures, most notably setting up inclusive education.

Special events and initiatives - some of them organized in partnership with private sector partners, will involve young people, children, as well as media and public figures with the aim to change attitudes to welcome all children with disability without prejudice.
One of the advocacy events envisaged within the frameworks of the campaign is International Conference on Children with Disability planned to be held in Baku in September.

The TV PSA for the campaign that will be broadcast by national TV channels starting June 1.

For further information please contact:

UNICEF Azerbaijan
Ayna Mollazade, Communication Officer
UNICEF Azerbaijan
Tel:  99412 492 3013



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