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Children with special needs participate in decorating worldwide known Buddy Bears

© UNICEF Kazakhstan / 2010
UNICEF Representative Hanaa Singer (centre) speaking at the presentation of the two small bears.

ASTANA, Kazakhstan - 13 July 2010 – Two new bears decorated by youth Kazakh citizens joined the worldwide known exhibition of United Buddy Bears and were presented to the public as part of the event jointly organized by UNICEF, the mayor’s office of Astana and the German Embassy in Kazakhstan.

There are about 150,000 children with special needs; only third of them have access to education and leisure services. Due to the absence of many social services, many of those children are isolated from their peers and society as a whole. Whereas they can be successfully integrated into society if they get timely medical treatment, have access to education and social protection.

From 15 May to 30 July 2010 the international exhibition of United Buddy Bears is being held in Astana and is supported by the German Embassy. The United Buddy Bears is a unique art exhibition born in Germany to promote love, tolerance and mutual understanding between people and nations.

Since 20th June 2001, when the Buddy Bears appeared in Berlin’s streets and squares for the first time, Buddy Bear activities and help for children in need have formed an inseparable unit. Special Buddy Bears sculptures are sold through auctions and proceeds go to UNICEF and other small children’s relief organization. The exhibition has already visited Berlin, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo and Buenos Aires and was viewed by millions of people. The exhibition consists of bears which were decorated by artists from over 120 countries which are UN member states. In each city the Buddy Bears are supported by the local Government, the diplomatic corps, the city mayor’s office and the UN Children’s Fund.

The organizers of the exhibition presented Astana with two small bears. The children who have come from different regions of Kazakhstan and are getting treatment at the Republican Children’s Rehabilitation Centre, took part in decorating the bears under the guidance of well-known Kazakh artist Leila Makhat (the Kulanshi Art Centre). On behalf of Kazakhstan Leila Makhat decorated the big Buddy Bear.

© UNICEF Kazakhstan / 2010
Colourful image from the project launch in Astana, the capital of Kazahstan.

The decoration of the small bears gave the children, including those with special needs, the unique opportunity to be part of the global peace initiative as well as express their thoughts and world perception with the help of paints.

“We need to remember that inclusion is not about inserting persons with disabilities into existing structures, but about transforming systems to be inclusive of everyone. Inclusive communities put into place measures to support all children at home, at school, vocational centres, sports and cultural events and in their communities. When barriers exist, inclusive communities transform the way they are organized to meet the needs of all children,” said UNICEF Representative Hanaa Singer at the presentation of the two small bears.

“All children are born talented. All children are equal. We have to listen to our children more often and provide them with opportunities to reveal and develop their talent,” said Leila Makhat at the presentation.

The Astana city mayor’s office representatives, Kazakh government officials, the diplomatic corps and NGOs attended the event. After presenting bears and awarding certificates to the children who decorated the bears, the children were asked to write down their life dreams on the balloons and release them into the air.

Many of the children want to be able to walk, talk, get education and live in a happy family with their mother and father…

For further information please contact:

UNICEF Kazakhstan Communication Department
Zhazira Zhumash, (7172) 32 28 78, 32 17 97 (ext 123)
Sultan Khudaibergenov, (7172) 32 28 78, 32 17 97 (ext 112)



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