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UNICEF-Special Olympics conference brings together NGOs to discuss disability issues

UNICEF-Special Olympics conference brings together NGOs to discuss disability issues

UNICEF and Special Olympics Uzbekistan jointly organized a conference 13-14 June 2008 in Tashkent. Titled “Commitment to Changing the Lives of Children and Young People with Different Abilities,” the conference brought together approximately 60 representatives of United Nations agencies, national bodies dealing with disability issues, and NGOs from Uzbekistan and neighboring countries.

The conference was opened by Svetlana Inamova, Senator, Chairperson of the board of the “Soglom avlod uchun” Fund and Chairperson of the board of Special Olympics Uzbekistan. Other welcoming remarks were made by Andro Shilakadze, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Uzbekistan; Anna Paolini, Representative, UNESCO, Uzbekistan; Mary Davis, Managing Director, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia; and Margarita Alimbekova, Special Olympics Uzbekistan athlete.

The conference presentations and discussion were divided into six sessions: Creating a Common Framework, Country Experiences, Partnerships for Inclusion, the Power of Sports as Tools for Social Integration, Participation in the Labor Market, and Involvement of Youth with Disabilities in Public Processes.

At the end of the conference a set of actions was drawn up in a document and agreed to by participants. Siyma Barkin Kuzmin, Head of Section for Child Protection, UNICEF Uzbekistan, led the discussion on the document that will be sent to all participants for further discussion and distribution at national level.

Following the conference, Kuzmin met with Special Olympics representatives from Central Asia to exchange information on UNICEF and Special Olympics. A representative from the UNDP, which has supported Special Olympics Uzbekistan, also participated in the session. Special Olympics programs were represented by Olga Bakhareva (Kazakhstan), Kanat Mambetaliev (Kyrgyz Republic), Dilbar Sharipova-Ahtamova (Tajikistan), Tofik Alievich Iskanderov (Turkmenistan) and Gulya Saidova (Uzbekistan).

“Meeting with Special Olympics representatives was positive and useful,” said Kuzman. “We in UNICEF see the value of Special Olympics in its ability to create visibility for people who are most excluded from society, bringing people together and bringing them hope. We value our partnership with Special Olympics because it brings more direction for UNICEF to approach disability issues. We see that partnerships bring more partnerships, creating a network that can promote the rights of the child,” she added.

The conference was sponsored by UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP and several Uzbek social organizations.

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Special Olympics

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Monday, June 23, 2008 - 23:00

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