’2.5 Million Children Disabled’

A study by the United Nations Children’s Fund and ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has found that about 2.5 million children in Uganda are disabled.

The research was conducted between November 2013 and April 2014. Its report shows barely nine per cent of children with disabilities attend primary school and only six per cent of them continue to secondary school. This is blamed on the limited number of special-needs educational institutions and teachers.

According to a Unicef statement, 25 years ago, the world made a commitment to children when it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which provides for ‘All rights for all children.’ Uganda ratified the convention in 1989.

According to Article 2 of the same convention, there should be no discrimination against children because of their race, religion, colour, sex, disability, language and ethnic group. However, children with disabilities remain marginalized.

“The situation of children with disabilities is evolving over time. Assessing their needs and the realisation of their rights should be an on-going process rather than a one-off exercise,” says the study’s briefing note.

Identified too from the study was the need for increased knowledge and awareness about the state of children with disabilities, in order to reduce the stigma and discrimination the children are subjected to.

Unicef focuses on reaching the most deprived and marginalized children including children with disabilities. The research findings will therefore define strategies to ensure all children are reached. Every child counts! With the data collected, Unicef and the Uganda government will be able to design and implement programmes that support inclusion of children with disabilities across all sectors from 2015 onwards.

“Inclusion of children with disabilities in society is very possible but requires a collective effort starting from changing the negative perceptions around these children understanding that they too enjoy the same rights as other children, as well prioritizing their issues by policymakers,” said Aida Girma, the Unicef representative.

Source : The Observer

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