Equal rights = Equal opportunities

Dec 1, 2016

Photo Credit: Nikita Cherepanov

Over two hundred representatives of local self-governments, civil society organizations representing interests of persons with disabilities from seven oblasts of the country took part in the Republican conference “Equal rights = Equal opportunities”, dedicated to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Speakers of the conference talked about the problems of education and employment of persons with disabilities, physical availability of infrastructure, buildings, and public transport. Participants also discussed about Paralympic Games, importance of development of the system of rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and many more.

The information in an accessible format
In order to provide information materials in accessible format, the conference fully accompanied by sign language, and printed materials produced in Braille.
Children with disabilities - Angels of Earth

Children with disabilities performed with a variety of concert numbers. The song “Angels of Earth” made particular impression on the audience, having accompanied with sign language choir, performed by children of “Obereg” and “Umut-Nadezhda” rehabilitation centers. The spectators could not hold back the tears in their eyes.
“We are not alike,
Living on a different depth,
It is unknown why this way we were born,
We are not able to change.
We'll never become like you,
But you may stand allied,
And be with us as much as you might.”   

The conference was held 29 November – during generous Tuesday. In the world, this day is celebrated as a day of presents, joy and good mood. Taking an opportunity, the children and speakers of the event were presented with T-shirts, certificates (1,000 KGS each) for the purchase of books.

Speaking in sign language
Participants enthusiastically joined five-minute master-class conference of the speaker Adilet Mateipov. He taught in a sign language the phrase: “I love you all. I love Kyrgyzstan. Live in friendship and harmony.” Adilet Mateipov, deaf-mute since his childhood. He is a taxi driver. Many participants of the master class for the first time used sign language, and told it wouldn’t be difficult to understand each other, stressing they began to understand the meaning of the slogan “We are different but equal”.
The secret of success - patience and work
Successful persons with disabilities who became an example to others by their patience and hard work were invited to participate in the conference. A resident of Nooken Nazirzhan Tailakov in the age of eight in an accident lost both hands. From the fourth class he learned to hold by his teeth a pen and write. It took him a tremendous human effort. Nazrizhan who perfectly mastered IT knowledge currently has more than a dozen students and followers. To the question about his dream, Nazirzhan answered: “I want to collect the money for my parents’ pilgrimage to Mecca.”

In memory of the victims
The next day, participants visited the memorial complex “Ata-Beyit” and paid tribute to those who died during the events (Urkun) in 1916, and died during the events in April 2010. Despite the fact the territory of the complex has not been adapted for wheelchair users, the participants were pleased they had the opportunity to visit one of the most important historical monuments of our people. Besides, for the participants there was organized a concert performance in the Theater of Opera and Ballet named after A. Maldybaev.

Best of the best
During the conference, the Minister of Labour and Social Development Taalaykul Isakunova awarded with diplomas of the Ministry the representatives and heads of organizations for their contribution to development of rights and opportunities of PWDs. Distinguished civil society organizations representing interests of PWDs were presented with souvenirs and various nominations.

Trendy Kyrgyz chapans
“Women of Central Asia” Public Foundation working in Isfana-city of Batken Oblast organized a fashion show “Kyrgyz chapans”, manufactured by women-PWDs. Design, model, and color range of Kyrgyz chapans, created in a modern style didn’t leave viewers uninterested. The cost of one chapan varies from three to five thousand KGS, depending on size and style.

The events were organized at the initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, with the support of UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland “Improving access to justice in the Kyrgyz Republic” project, in partnership with civil society organizations representing interests of PWDs.

The republican event was organized to draw public attention to the problems and needs of persons with disabilities and the need to exercise their rights and freedoms to the fullest extent.

Meri Bekeshova, UNDP project “Widening access to justice in the KR” Communication specialist