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Analytical materials

22.12.2008

Автор: Author: Lyazzat Kaltayeva
Chairman of the "Shyrak” Association of women with disabilities” public association

Equal opportunity for children with different capabilities

The year 2007 is the first pilot year of the program for young people with disabilities of Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation. The program gives 10 educational grants to young talented guys with disabilities, wishing to obtain specialized secondary education. This year's winners of the grants were the guys from Astana, Kostanai, Taraz, Almaty. The support provided by the Foundation is complex and includes not only payment for 3 years of study, but also a significant scholarship and accommodation in a hostel for non-residents.

The program was developed in collaboration with the "Shyrak” Association of women with disabilities” public association that became its administrator. As you can see, the Fund's policy is that an expert and the program operator should be an organization with experience and some weight in this area. In addition, dissemination of information and recruiting fellows across the Republic became possible with the use of national networks resources of the organizations of disabled persons.

Ten winners of educational grant were selected from a large number of children who have applied for the competition from all regions of the country. The program does not restrict candidates neither in the form of disability nor in its classification. Thus, the precedent has been set equal access grant for children with physical disabilities and for children with visual, hearing and speech disorder. And the main criteria for selection are: leadership, self-reliance and acquiring of knowledge to enable further employment. The focus of attention has shifted from impossibility to accomplishments by this principal way.

The range of candidate’s selected professions was quite wide and varied. But often it depended on some physical limitations of each scholarship. For example, two visually impaired children have chosen translation major, as modern equipment and software for the blind provide them with new opportunities, both in writing and simultaneous interpreting. Two of the fellows with cerebral palsy, that is, those who are more suitable for stationary office work chosen accounting and finance. A girl with hearing chosen baker engineer profession, because it is widely known how well craft developed among deaf people.

The pilot year of the program gave us, manager, both positive and negative lessons that should not go unspoken. A positive finding was the fact that the younger generation of disabled people does not suffer from dependency syndrome for the most cases, which was quite typical for older disabled people. Children want to live a productive life, and know well that have not only rights but also responsibilities. Moreover, they tend to get knowledge among peers without disabilities.

Indicative was the fact that all the winners of the program did not enroll at institutions for children with disabilities, but not at comprehensive colleges! But negative lessons were enough. For example, student’s problems began from submitting documents to the SEI in East Kazakhstan and Almaty oblasts. The rejection to accept documents camouflaged either with child care, which "will be easier to study at home than here," or the fact that the agencies "have no experience in teaching such students." Obviously, these institutions will never get this experience with such approach.

Three of the program applicants were young people in wheelchairs. One of them, a girl from a rural area of Almaty region, was able to pass all arduous selection stages and almost won the educational grant, but has forced to abandon it. This is because college, hostel and public transport were completely unsuited for her special needs. Such case might call outrageous in countries where the risk of physical access for people with disabilities is a past stage. However, it is a reality in our society where our children live.

The education grants program of the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation for young disabled people, in addition to its direct purpose to provide financial support to such children has another important goal. This goal is to show the urgent need for an inclusive education system to the public. When disabled children enroll at regular schools, secondary and high education institutions, it should be not a unique phenomenon but common sight. The Company will receive as a result not only self-sufficient individuals and professionals with disabilities, but also the new generation, naturally perceives disability since childhood and understands that society can and should be different, but equal.

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