Help the most vulnerable children get care, education and protection
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On the eve of the World Cup, UNICEF is launching a campaign called "Support the team of the future – children in Bulgaria". In a world more divided than ever, football has the power to unite, and when it comes to children's rights, there can only be one team. That is the team we must all get behind.
Regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability or disability, every child has the right to be included and protected from all forms of violence and discrimination.
In this campaign, we are focusing public attention on three key themes:
Only 12% of parents in Bulgaria reported their doctor has ever completed a survey or other questionnaire about their child's learning, development or behaviour.
Early identification of developmental difficulties in children leads to a better chance of overcoming them.
In one-third of children, developmental difficulties or disabilities are identified after 36 months of age.
32 000 is the estimated number of children with disabilities in Bulgaria.
Nearly 15 000 children with special needs have difficulty communicating.
Around 10 000 children with disabilities in Bulgaria do not attend school or kindergarten.
1 in 2 children and young people in Bulgaria have experienced violence.
1 in 7 children in Bulgaria have experienced online bullying.
15,694 reports of online violence were received by the National Centre for Safe Internet in 2021.
More than 1/3 of children with disabilities have experienced abuse.
What UNICEF is doing to access early childhood intervention for the best start in children's lives
We train doctors and other health professionals to monitor children's development in the first 2 years of life in order to engage them early in an early intervention service for identified developmental difficulties.
We train professionals to provide the support in the home (or in the child's natural environment - kindergarten, nursery) through the active involvement of parents.
We coordinate the different services - health, social and educational - so that the child receives full support.
UNICEF's goal is to use the funds raised to continue working towards building a system of early childhood intervention. All families with children in Bulgaria, from birth to age 2, to have timely professional information about their child's development and timely, coordinated, evidence-based, quality community-based support provided to all who need it.
What UNICEF is doing to ensure quality inclusive education for every child
C-Board, a free mobile app for symbolic communication that enables children who cannot speak to communicate with their families, their teachers and those around them. Download it from the Google App Store.
Our long-term goal is to empower non-verbal children in this country to express themselves, communicate and learn with the help of their teachers and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) technologies.
As part of the Voice for Every Child programme, we adapted the C-board symbolic communication app into English and tested it with professionals and children. It is to be upgraded with symbols, including those suitable for supporting communication and learning for children over 10 years of age. We will continue with the training of parents, teachers and professionals so that they can increasingly use C-Board in their daily communication and education of children with special educational needs.
With the funds from the campaign, UNICEF will continue to work to introduce and use modern augmentative and alternative communication tools in children's lives and education to enable more children with disabilities to reach their potential
What UNICEF is doing to ensure prevention and protection from violence for every child
We have set up Children's Advocacy and Support Centres "Zona ZaKrila" in 3 districts of the country (Montana, Sofia, Shumen), which provide specialized support for children who have experienced violence and their parents "under one roof" - In "Zona ZaKrila" crisis intervention is provided to children and families and social, legal and psychological support is provided by various specialists". With funds from the campaign:
UNICEF will work to implement the "Zona ZaKrila" service model at the national level.
UNICEF will continue to support the work of the Safer Internet Centre to provide a Hotline for illegal and harmful online content and behaviour for children and an Online Safety Advisory Line for children, parents, teachers and various professionals in cases of online problems with children.
UNICEF will continue the Steps Together to Violence-Free Schools programme to help 200 more schools in Bulgaria build safe and violence-free school environments and ensure that more children in Bulgaria have access to better quality education and 21st century skills.
UNICEF works for systemic change and improvement of child protection policies at national level.
Thanks for the support of: