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Disable to Enable: See the child before the disability


UNICEF launches campaign to disable misconceptions to enable the lives of children with disabilities in conjunction with Malaysia Children's Day and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, 27 October 2013 – Children with disabilities, like all children, are born with great potential, and should be defined by their abilities and not their limitations, UNICEF highlighted at the launch of its month-long Disable2Enable digital campaign aimed at disabling public misconceptions to enable the lives of children and youth with disabilities.

Andrea (13, Cerebral Palsy), Iskandar (12, Autism) and Raveen Raj (16, Delayed Speech) joined YAM Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja'afar, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Malaysia's iconic athlete Tan Sri Dato' Dr. M Jegathesan and UNICEF Malaysia Disability Taskforce Chair Mr. Phenny Kakama to launch the Campaign at the Malaysia Children's Day Carnival today, held in conjunction with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay in Malaysia. Supporting the Carnival and the campaign launch are the Commonwealth Games Malaysia and the British High Commission.

According to Mr. Kakama, the Disable2Enable campaign and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games share the same values of inclusiveness, humanity, equality and destiny – all of which translate to the rights that belong to all children, including children with disabilities.

"Children with disabilities, like all children, carry the promise of meaningful lives, of vital community participation and contributions to build inclusive and sustainable societies", said Mr Kakama. "It's time to change how society sees these children: by focusing on the child, and not his or her disability."

Enable children with disabilities

The Disable2Enable campaign is built on the inspiring stories of 14 children and young people living with disabilities in Malaysia, including Andrea, Iskandar and Raveen Raj. Through short videos, which can be viewed on the microsite, the children and youth share with the world their personalities, abilities and talents.

According to UNICEF, children with disabilities and their communities would benefit if society focused on what children can achieve, rather than what they cannot do. Regrettably, many children with disabilities are excluded by the very societies they belong to; and are often unregistered at birth, hidden, institutionalised, abandoned, ignored and forgotten.

"Children are not disabled because they cannot see, read or hear, they are disabled because society excludes them," added Mr. Kakama. When they're not objects of pity and shame, they're frequently targets of abuse. Globally, they are up to three to four times more likely to be subjected to violence than other children."

In line with its mandate to support the realisation of full rights for all children in Malaysia, UNICEF's Disable2Enable campaign calls on the public to visit to:

§ Take a pledge to disable their misconceptions to enable children with disabilities to claim their place in society;

§ Disable their Facebook to enable stories of children with disabilities to be seeded on their timeline on Universal Children's Day, 20 November;

§ Download and share campaign materials with friends and family to celebrate the abilities of children with disabilities.

Inclusive society for all children

"A society cannot be just and fair unless all children are included, and children with disabilities cannot be included unless the environment around them changes to support their participation," stressed Mr. Kakama.

In support of inclusive societies that celebrate all children, the Malaysia Children's Day Carnival included inclusive games by the British Council and blind futsal by IMC Pan Disability Football where the public played futsal blindfolded against Malaysia's national blind futsal team. SCOPE organised its Human Library where advocates and families living with disabilities shared their experiences with the public to help dispel myths associated with disability, while Projek Disko Baldi dedicated its song The Playground (arrangements by Fadzly Rahman) to children with disabilities.

On Saturday, the children with disabilities profiled in the Disable2Enable campaign also joined the opening ceremony of the Asian Youth Para-Games Malaysia 2013, carrying with them the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton and the hope for an inclusive Malaysia that values and respects their dignity and abilities.

"Inclusive societies are sustainable societies. A society that makes room for children with disabilities makes room for everyone; a community can only truly move forward when it leaves no one behind," Mr. Kakama highlighted.


For further information, please contact:

Indra Kumari Nadchatram,
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9157
+6012 292 6872

Sasha Surandran,
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9154 ext. 2236
+6019 658 5160






State of the World's Children 2013

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