A group advocating children’s rights and welfare, Save the Children Philippines (SCP), has called for wider access to education for some 300,000 school-age children with disabilities to build their confidence and develop full potential.
Lawyer Albert Muyot, SCP chief executive officer, said access to schools for children with disabilities is critical to develop talents and ensure meaningful participation in the society.
“Children with disabilities suffer not only physical frailties but also discrimination due to the social stigma caused by the lack of acceptance by families and the society,” Muyot said in a statement.
The group joined the 2nd Conference on the State of Children with Disabilities in the Philippines at the Novotel Hotel on Monday, which was in line with the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with Norfil Foundation, National Council on Disability Affairs, Council on the Welfare of Children, and University of Santo Tomas as co-organizers.
The event is a follow up of the previous conferences and bridges the gaps toward a disability inclusive society for children. It aims to establish an annual venue for collaboration of advocates, to secure commitment of relevant national government agencies and non-government organizations, and to set an engaging environment for disability-inclusive policy advocacy.
A series of discussions of evidence-based practices in local school and urban communities and presentation of national-level efforts promotion of disability inclusive services for children, aligned with the National Strategic Plan on Children with Disabilities will be held during the conference.
SCP will highlight the condition of children with disabilities as having equal rights to access quality education, health and nutrition services but only a small number of them attend regular classes.
The Department of Education (DepEd) reported that in 2011, only 5,916 children with disability are included in regular classes.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that there are 1.4 million Filipinos with disabilities and 300,000 of them are school-age children.
SCP implements KASALI (Kabataan Aralin sa Lahat Ibahagi) project in 52 barangays in Pateros, Taguig and Parañaque to provide education to children with learning disabilities and provide access to preschoolers to health and nutrition services. (PNA)