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NZ Could be World Leaders in Rights for Disabled Children

NZ Could be World Leaders in Rights for Disabled Children – Expert

By Fleur Revell
18 July 2014
A leading children’s poverty and disability advocate says more needs to be done to protect the rights of the disabled living in poverty and is calling on Kiwis to put their faces to a visual petition, which will be handed to the New Zealand Government, to present at a UN Summit in September.

The National Director for cbm Darren Ward says it is a travesty that 80% of children with disabilities living in poverty won’t make it to their fifth birthday.

He says the rights of the these children have not been included in the UN's development goals and says New Zealand has the opportunity to take an international leadership position and raise awareness of this issue.

An international Christian development organisation working to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in the world’s poorest countries, cbm help more than 30 million people each year.

Now the charity is putting together a visual petition to address the needs of millions of at risk children this will be presented to New Zealand’s governmental representative attending the New York based United Nations summit.

Ward says as part of the unique charitable campaign supporters are encouraged to upload their picture and literally face up to children in poverty + diasability on the FACEUP4cbm.com website.

A full screen of images, to be collated by the end of August, will provide visual confirmation that Kiwis want to ensure more is done to support these children.

“We are looking to secure 13,000 Kiwi faces to fill the grid. If we can do that then we will give this visual petition to the New Zealand Government and request that our Kiwi representatives take this issue to the world’s politicians at the upcoming UN summit.

“We want to send a clear message that people and children with disabilities should not be left behind,” says Ward. “We simply will not solve extreme poverty unless disability is explicity included in these UN development goals.”

Ward says in many countries children with disabilities are rejected by their families or communities and cbm workers help break down stigmas and fears, developing and implementing plans to meet the needs of children and their families.

“Ultimately, we are aiming to break the cycle of disability and poverty and the one-on-one work we do with families makes a lasting difference because what we do allows them a greater degree of independence and better quality of life,” he says.

“Ward says evidence of the difference Kiwi donations can make is illustrated best by the story of Laxmi, a young Nepalese girl, whose journey provides the backdrop for the campaign.

“Laxmi badly burnt her left leg as a toddler and subsequently it never grew. When her friends walked to school she was forced to crawl in the dirt behind them, over sharp rocks in the rugged Nepal terrain and even across a stream. She was taunted by other children and left broken both physically and emotionally,” says Ward.

Her parents, both farmers were unable to pay for treatment but thanks to the generosity of cbm supporters she was fitted with a prosthetic leg and was able to walk for the first time,” says Ward.

It is Laxmi’s poignant story that features on the FACEUP4cbm website and Ward says he hopes it will motivate Kiwis to do more to help children like Laxmi around the world.

One of the largest organisations for disability and development in the world, cbm funds approximately 10 million medical treatments, helping 850,000 of those receive an operation for their eyes, ears and limbs. It also provides specialist training for over 100,000 people including 2000 doctors, 5000 nurses and 20,000 teachers each year.

Go to www.faceup4cbm.com to find out more and see Laxmi’s journey or to join the FACEUP4cbm campaign.


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