'Give avenues to kids with disabilities'
Children with disabilities and their communities would both benefit if the society focuses on their potential and not their limitations, according to UNICEF’s annual ‘State of the World’s Children’ report.
The theme of the report, which was released here by Social Welfare Minister M K Muneer, is ‘Children with Disabilities’.
“Children with disabilities have the same rights as all other children, and should be provided with the same opportunities,” the Minister said. He mentioned Kerala’s ‘Special Initiative on Disability’(SID), an integrated project with the Departments of Health and Education which focuses on neuro developmental disabilities, as a model for others.
The State of the World’s Children 2013 report explains, with case studies and individual stories, on how exclusion affects such children from their first days itself. It states that they are least likely to receive health care or go to school, making them the most vulnerable and marginalised group.
Kerala, according to N Ahmed Pillai, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, has around 8.6 lakh persons with disabilities. Of this, around 2 lakh are children, a majority of them living in rural areas.
He stated that while Kerala succeeded in bringing down infant mortality, there is still a long way to go in bringing down high-risk pregnancies, which increases the chances of giving birth to children with disabilities. K M Abraham, Principal Secretary, Social Welfare, emphasised the importance of consulting children with disabilities in formulating the programmes related to them.
Also present at the function were Neela Gangadharan, Chairperson of the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and Satish Kumar, Chief of UNICEF state office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala.