Inclusion of children with disabilities benefits society as a whole
Da Nang, Viet Nam, 30 May 2013 – Children with disabilities and their communities would both benefit if society focused on what those children can achieve, rather than what they cannot do, according to UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s Children’s report.
Concentrating on the abilities and potential of children with disabilities would create benefits for society as a whole, says the report released today.
"When you see the disability before the child, it is not only wrong for the child, but it deprives society of all that child has to offer," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Their loss is society's loss; their gain is society's gain.”
The report lays out how societies can include children with disabilities because when they play a full part in society, everyone benefits. For instance, inclusive education broadens the horizons of all children even as it presents opportunities for children with disabilities to fulfil their ambitions.
More efforts to support integration of children with disabilities would help tackle the discrimination that pushes them further into the margins of society.
On Wednesday, 17 April, my attention was drawn to a very tragic story in the Times of India, under the headline, “Early motherhood forcing young brides to bury aspirations.” It is about an 18-year-old girl who killed her two-day-old son in India as she feared that motherhood might end her dreams of pursuing education. The story filled me with even stronger resolve to speak up on this issue.
It also reminded me of another story, in Kabul, where 15-year-old Freshta escaped marriage to a man more than twice her age. "I am educated, that is why I could refuse my parents' decision. But my sister is only 13 years old, and they will marry her to an old man," said Freshta with tears in her eyes, worrying about the fate of her sister. Freshta is living at a secret shelter for women in Kabul; a place she was referred to by the police after being beaten by her family and expelled from home for rebelling against her family's wishes.
London: Malala Yousafzai, who emerged as a global icon for women's rights after being shot at by Taliban for advocating girl's education in Pakistan, will give her first public speech in New York on her 16th birthday on July 12, a day that would now be marked as 'Malala Day'. UN Special Envoy and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on Friday that Malala is determined to continue campaigning for girls' education and will speak to a specially convened meeting of young people from around the world at the United Nations.
The Templeton Prize has been awarded to Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa. The award recognizes his lifelong work in advancing spiritual and liberating principles such as love and forgiveness around the world.
Tutu became a globally recognized figure as a result of his longstanding and principled opposition to South Africa's apartheid regime. Then, after the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994 as president in the country's first multi-ethnic elections, Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Employing a revolutionary and relentless policy of confession, forgiveness, and resolution, the commission helped move the nation from institutionalized racial repression toward egalitarian democracy.