In Focus: Including children with disabilities

Helping children with disabilities take their place in society

18-year-old Atlia, who was born with severely damaged limbs, smiling in class at an inclusive school in his home town of Becej in Serbia.


UNICEF upholds the rights of all children with disabilities across Europe and Central Asia, aiming to end their exclusion from society. We work to keep them with their families, ensure that they have an inclusive education and are part of their communities.

Many of the estimated 5.1 million children living with disabilities in the Region are ‘missing’ from families, classrooms and communities. While there is a chronic lack of data on their situation, we know that their rights are often violated, particularly if they are from families already excluded from mainstream society.

Children with disabilities are often viewed as a problem to be ‘fixed,’ with the focus on their disability and a medical response, rather than on their abilities and potential.

We support outreach services to families with young children to identify and respond to disabilities at an early age, helping families stay together and giving children a chance to reach their potential. We aim to tackle the discrimination that excludes them from schools and communities, working to make schools more inclusive and to change attitudes towards disability. We also work with disabled people’s organizations (DPOs), building alliances to ensure the full inclusion of children with disabilities in family life, in schools and across communities.

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