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Tackling the Rights of Disabled Children

© UNICEF

DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN, 1 June, 2007 – Up to 2,000 children are expected to celebrate the rights of disabled children in a rally in one of Dushanbe’s major parks.

They will gather on June 1 from 9:00  in Central Children Park, in an event jointly hosted by the city mayor's office, as part of Tajikistan’s marking of International Children’s Day.

This year the event will focus on children with disabilities who for many decades in Tajikistan have faced exclusion from society. This has involved children being placed in residential institutions.
UNICEF’s Representative in Tajikistan, Yukie Mokuo, said “UNICEF celebrates this occasion with the hope that reforms should acknowledge disabled children’s rights; should change the attitudes of the society towards disability and make sure these children live the normal lives that they are entitled to.” 
In Tajikistan, the number of children with moderate or severe disability is estimated to range from 11,300(Ministry of Health) to 84,000(United Nations Development Programme). There are constraints on disabled children getting the services they need, including: delayed diagnosis, the low quality of health care and social services, insufficient funds, and bureaucratic and expensive procedures to get required documents for social allowances. 
The lack of community-based family-support services mean that parents must often resort to institutional care. In 2005, for instance, there were approximately 1,700 children living in institutions for the disabled. Stigma still plays a role in the way in which disabled children and their families are viewed. 
The vast majority of children with disabilities have little access to rehabilitative health care or social care services, and many are unable to acquire a formal education in Tajikistan.  Too often, the only choices available to children with disabilities are to stay at home – missing out on an education and spending much of their time alone – or to live away from their families in a residential institution. 
UNICEF supports pilot referral community-based services in cooperation with the National Commission on Child Rights of the Government of Tajikistan.  These are District Government based Child Rights Departments, the Psychological Medical Pedagogical Consultation and Parents Education Centre for children with disabilities.  These centres provide vital services for children with disabilities, enabling them to avoid institutionalization as well as offer rehabilitation programmes, counselling and access to a wide range of recreational, educational and vocational activities, to help prepare children for the future. The Child Rights departments has investigated those children who are not registered at all at the district level. For instance, in Gafurov district the CRD exposed 400 more children with disabilities who were not benefitting the social care system and hidden in their families. Due to the efforts of the department the data base on children with disabilities reached the number of 1020 in Gafurov.
During the week leading up to 1 June,  2007, a variety of advocacy activities have been organised all over the country, including meetings with children, contests among creative youth groups, puppet shows, organization of recreation programmes in parks and public spaces.

For more information contact UNICEF Tajikistan Communication Officer, Mukaddas Kurbanova,
on +992 48 701-14-89, or via mkurbanova@unicef.org

 

 
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