The European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines, together with Save the Children Philippines, the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP), and NORFIL Foundation, joined the National Council on Disability Affairs in the celebration of the 43rd National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week.
With the theme “Kalusugan at Kaunlaran ng Pilipinong May Kapansanan, Isulong sa Gitna ng Pandemya,” the EU, Save the Children, and partners invited children with disabilities and their parents to an online educational activity on July 10.
More than 100 children with disabilities and their parents participated in the family day event where they played fun games together and learnt more about their rights.
“I had so much fun,” shared Christian, a 16-year-old child with disability.
“We are grateful to Save the Children for this new experience with our children wherein we also learned a lot as a family. This is a new milestone for children with disabilities. We look forward to the next one,” said one of the parents in the activity.
The event was made possible through the EU-funded Project SCOPE (Strengthening the Capacity of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and Other Civil Society Organizations Towards Effective Civil Society-Local Government Engagement and Improved Government Accountability for Persons with Disabilities, Especially Children in the Cities of Parañaque and Taguig, and Municipality of Pateros).
Children with Disabilities are among the most marginalized and heavily impacted by the challenges brought about by emergencies such as the COVID-19 health crisis. Coinciding with this year’s NDPR theme of resilience in the middle of a pandemic, Project SCOPE aims to empower children with disabilities so that they can participate in local governance.
“Empowering children with disabilities and their parents/ carers is one of the best ways to improve the protection and fulfilment of their rights, including access to basic services. The rights of the child form part of our human rights priorities in the country. SCOPE enables them to constructively engage and influence local government units and officials to be active members of the community,” said Rafael de Bustamante, Chargé d’affaire a.i., Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines.
Launched in May 2021, the SCOPE project considers children as its primary stakeholders and has provided them and other persons with disability with accessible and inclusive materials such as child-friendly SCOPE project briefers in print and digital versions.
“Save the Children believes that all children have the right and capacity to participate. We only need to ensure that they are given safe platforms and inclusive opportunities, and offered different ways to join activities at home and in the community,” said Atty. Albert Muyot, CEO of Save the Children Philippines.
Other activities of the EU, Save the Children, and partners lined up in observance of the NDPR week include a webinar on inclusion and children’s rights for the parents of children with disabilities in Parañaque and local government officials in Pateros, as well as empowering the Federation of Persons with Disability in Taguig.
The SCOPE project also supports advocacy for the Inclusive Education for Learners with Disability Bill that Save the Children has been championing. This bill is now at the pre-bicameral committee conference stage –a step closer to being signed into law by the President. The law will identify and provide for the rights of learners with disabilities to quality education.