IKEA co-workers from Canada and Portugal will visit projects from Save the Children on their IWitness trip next week. Read the blog from Melita Kabashi, Save the Children Kosovo, introducing you to their programme and the challenges disabled children face on a daily basis.
by Melita Kabashi, Save the Children Communications, Advocacy and Media Coordinator
Today in Kosovo there are an estimated 14,500 children with disabilities. Only 10-11% of them have access to any form of education. The majority who have access to school are separated from other pupils—it is estimated that 1,179 children with disabilities attend special schools.
Moreover, children of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities still have the lowest school attendance and educational attainment in Kosovo.
But we, Save the Children Kosova/o, are changing this! Thanks to the IKEA Foundation’s support, Valdrin, a 10-year-old boy diagnosed with hemiparesis and a learning disability, is now attending primary school while continuing to get support at the community-based rehabilitation centre Handikos.
Valdrin is part of the IKEA Foundation–funded project “Realising the rights of minority and disabled children in Kosova/o”, which promotes the right to education for marginalised children, including children with disabilities and Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children.
We focus on inclusive education, particularly at pre-primary and primary level. The project also promotes children’s access to a safe and secure school environment. It’s also very important to raise awareness of children’s rights and participation among government officials, as well as in civil society.
The three-year project is being implemented in 18 educational institutions and nine municipalities throughout Kosovo.
Twelve thousand children will benefit by the end of 2015! This includes 1,000 marginalised children, out of whom 600 are children with disabilities and 400 are children of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.
Change is happening, and I look forward to having the IWitness team see the changes themselves and experience first-hand the positive effects on children as a result of the IKEA Foundation’s support. Welcome to Kosovo!