TBILISI, Georgia, 23 February, 2017. The nation-wide communication for social change campaign to address negative attitudes towards children with disabilities is being launched today and aims at catalysing social change through awareness raising, experience sharing and mutual understanding. The campaign is carried out by UNICEF with the support of the European Union and USAID with active engagement of children with disabilities and their parents.
“Children with disabilities and their parents in Georgia have the right to be treated equally with others and fully benefit from available opportunities to realize their full potential”, says Laila O. Gad, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “Georgia’s progress and development is also measured by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, children and young people with disabilities. High stigma in the society towards children with disabilities impede their personal, educational and professional development and result in their marginalization. UNICEF together with partners, and most importantly parents and children themselves, is launching the campaign and through highlighting the abilities of these people we aim to contribute to creating such an environment where children with disabilities can enjoy their rights and can develop”.
In particular, the campaign will help the society to:
· Analyze existing misconceptions towards people with disabilities and understand the reality of their lives.
· Engage with and integrate people with disabilities and become convinced of their capabilities and potential.
· Understand how to support the personal, social and professional development of people with disabilities, if the need arises, and also develop itself.
· Learn equal coexistence with persons with disabilities.
The following are some of the activities planned within the framework of anti-stigma movement:
· A series of photo and video podcasts of children with disabilities and their parents sharing their success stories detailing how despite immense barriers, the children and their parents manage to self-actualize, express themselves, grow stronger and become role-models for their peers.
· A series of formal educational commixes, explaining how to handle a range of situations with children with disabilities.
· Video and online contests for school children.
· A series of TV shows and discussions on popular TV channels, including regional broadcasters.
· TV contests with participation of local municipalities.
· Anti- stigma movement presentations across Georgia, including street manifestations, festivals, and fun demonstrations where children with disabilities and their parents participate.
Children with disabilities are one of the most isolated, disadvantaged and marginalized groups of children in Georgia. According to the UNICEF studies, due to misconceptions and discriminatory prejudice, more than 40% of the Georgian public stigmatize children with disabilities.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.