"Still, whatever the situation,
it is up to us and our horizons to accept it and deal with it!
We are the ones to decide what the course of our lives will be.
I am who I am – an ordinary young girl
trying not to create barriers for myself.
Now I'm wondering ... can you break yours?!"
Elena, 24, from Varna
THEY are among us — children, adolescents and young people with disabilities. But all too often we neither see, nor hear them, we exclude them — from the playground and school to the labour market. There are multiple reasons and barriers — from the physical environment, the access to assistive technologies, to prejudice and attitudes.
And yet THEY do have a voice. They have an opinion. They have their own view of how their problems should be addressed and their needs met. They have their own battles and victories.
And we, at UNICEF, together with our partners and the media, want to hear their voice. Because they have stories to tell and things to show us. And they can inspire us, so much!
In the year when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the rights of the child, UNICEF launches a public dialogue focusing on children, teenagers and young people with disabilities. A dialogue that will give them a strong and clear voice. A dialogue that frames what has been achieved, clearly identifies existing barriers but — first and foremost — builds a bridge through positive inspiring examples to a possible TOGETHER. Because THEY are part of our society.
For a start, we have invited children with disabilities to hear their messages to all of us. See what they have to say:
‘We are not that different. People see something that they are not accustomed to and do not know how to react. They behave differently and think that we cannot feel it.’