May 31, 2013 | Africa: Benin

Include Children with Disabilities, UNICEF Says

By Karl Hejlik

With entire sections on inclusive health and education, it is easy to spot one of the themes of "The State of the World’s Children 2013", the new report issued May 30 by Special Olympics partner UNICEF. The annual publication is one of the development community’s most heralded reports, serving as a reference point around child rights and child protection. This year’s report examines the condition of children with disabilities. “Given the opportunities to flourish as others might, children with disabilities have the potential to lead fulfilling lives and to contribute to the social, cultural and economic vitality of their communities,” the report states. Yet, there are numerous barriers faced by children with disabilities including lack of access to services such as health care and education, higher rates of poverty, greater exposure to abuse, and the lack of data related to this population. The report concludes with 9 recommendations to building more inclusive societies. Since 2008, Special Olympics and UNICEF have developed a global partnership to advance the rights and abilities of children with intellectual disabilities. Active in over 25 countries and growing, this partnership has worked to provide increased opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities and their families to access health services, inclusive sports programming, school-based advocacy and education.

About Karl Hejlik: Senior Manager, Health and Research Communications.
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