Children with disabilities

Children with disabilities have a right to be seen, valued and included

Boy smiling and celebrating at a sport event
UNICEFMalaysia/2014/FZahri

The challenge

For a child to survive and thrive, they need to have policies and services that support their families and communities to care, nurture, and protect them. Gaps in legislation and service delivery prevent children with disabilities in Malaysia from accessing their rights.

A recent UNICEF Study shows that children with disabilities in Malaysia are often hidden, portrayed negatively and excluded from society. It also highlighted that they face daily stigma and discrimination which compounds their marginalisation.

58%

of Malaysians surveyed feel under-informed about disability  

1 in 3

believe children with disabilities should be kept hidden

43%

feel that children with disabilities would be disruptive in a mainstream class

We do not know what their future is like… Let’s say if one day we pass away… what will happen to him?

Mother of a child with disabilities

How can we fix this?

Inclusion and opportunities are crucial enablers for children with disabilities to reach their full potential; benefiting them and the wider society.

UNICEF is working with key stakeholders such as activists, civil society organisations, corporate/private sector companies, government departments and children themselves to increase knowledge, shift mindsets, motivate action and promote inclusion best practice. UNICEF is finding ways to demonstrate that every member of society can play a role in ensuring that inclusion becomes a reality for all children – with or without disabilities.

UNICEF works with key stakeholders by:

  • Identifying and addressing gaps in service delivery: Mapping of key policies, programmes, interventions, and stakeholders in order to strengthen partnerships which address gaps in service provision.
  • Protection against violence and discrimination: Advocating for attitude and behaviour change to end violence and discrimination against children with disabilities.
  • Promoting social inclusion: Encouraging service providers to champion inclusion of all children – with and without disabilities – via: awareness raising; meaningful engagement with children with disabilities; and public infrastructure improvements.
  • Increasing knowledge and understanding: Conducting studies, research, and sharing sessions, bringing together key disability actors in the country to increase public knowledge, understanding and inclusion of children with disabilities.

Related resources