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Press release

Japan donates $2 million to UNICEF to get children out of orphanages in Central Asia

Funds aim to turn back tide of children going into institutions.

TOKYO/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 31 August 2004 – The Government of Japan is donating  more  than  US$  2  million  to  UNICEF  to  get  children out of orphanages  and  other  residential  institutions  across Central Asia. The announcement  coincides  with  a  tour  of Central Asia by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, which ended today.

Around  32,000  children  in  institutions  in  Central  Asia,  plus 30,000 families  that  are  at  risk  of  institutionalising  their children, will benefit  from  the contribution of approximately 235 million yen. The funds will  be divided between the five Central Asian countries, with US$ 444,000 for  Kazakhstan,  US$  379,000  for  the  Kyrgyz  Republic, US$ 369,000 for Tajikistan, US$ 369,000 for Turkmenistan and US$ 439,000 for Uzbekistan.

The  funds, from the Japanese Trust Fund for Human Security, will go to the UNICEF  supported-project:  “Every Child Has a Right to Grow up in a Family Environment”,  aiming  to  turn  back  the  tide  of  children  going  into institutions  in  these  countries.  The  Soviet  legacy  of state care for children  in  difficulties,  coupled with rising poverty, means that around 200,000  children  are  growing up in long-term residential care across the region  –  almost  84,000  of them in Kazakhstan alone. The major stumbling block  to  getting  them  out  of  institutions  and  back  into  a  family environment  is  the  lack  of  alternatives,  with  few  social workers or services  to  help  families  in  difficulties, few regulations on domestic adoption,  fostering  and guardianship, and the absence of proper norms and standards  on  child  protection. Meanwhile, new children’s homes are still being opened.

“This  contribution  will  help  to  create  a child protection system that focuses  on  the  best interests of individual children and families,” said Juan Aguilar, UNICEF Area Representative for Central Asia.

“Our  goal  is  to  help  families  in  difficult situations stay together, without   feeling   compelled   to  consign  their  children  to  long-term institutional  care.  And, in cases where children are separated from their parents,  we aim to provide alternatives that take a family-based approach, such as guardianship, foster care and domestic adoption. Above all, we must protect the right of every child to grow up in a family environment.”

The  project  will  assess the current situation, establish community-based social  services and centres to focus on the specific needs of children and families,  sensitise  professionals  and  experts  on this issue, boost the capacity  of  professionals to respond to children and families in need and at risk, and promote foster care at the community level.


Japan  established  the  Trust  Fund for Human Security in March 1999, with total  contributions  of  25.9  billion  yen (approx. US$ 227 million). The Trust Fund has assisted more than 100 UN agency projects to address various threats  to  human  life,  livelihood  and  dignity, from a Human Security perspective.

For more information, please contact:

Angela Hawke, UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS, Baltics
Tel: (00 4122) 909 5433. Mob: (++ 4179) 601 9917,
Ikuko Yamaguchi, UNICEF Geneva,  (00 4122) 909 5727
Kathryn Donovan, UNICEF New York, (001 212) 326 7452




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