By one widely used estimate, 93 million children
– or 1 in 20 of those aged 14 or younger – live with a
moderate or severe disability of some kind.- UNICEF, 2013
CRIN estimates state that over 150 million children worldwide have some or the other disability. Most of these children do not get formal education, and often face discrimination and are at risk of mental and physical abuse. There are incidents of medical professionals killing these children with disabilities calling these ‘mercy killings’. 90% of children with disabilities do not live beyond 20.
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is responsible for children with disabilities while some specific health related issues are under the governance of the health ministry. But considering there are two different ministries involved the issues of varied data, low surveillance and accountability often surface out. Estimates say that 12 million Indian children suffer from disabilities and this is about 35% of all people living with disabilities in the country. The other side is that only 1% of these children have access to schools.
Causes For Disability In Children –
- Communicable Diseases
- Infection in early childhood
- Early Motherhood Problems
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Insufficient or Inaccessible Health Care Services
- Inadequate Sanitation
- Inter-family Marriages
- Late disabilities due to child abuse, violence and exploitation
- Living off streets leading to disabilities due to malnutrition
- Purposefully created disabilities for begging
- Child labour especially working in hazardous conditions
Issues of access With Disability In Children –
- Teachers and schools are not trained and often lack the infrastructure to help children
- Data insufficiency about these children is now allowing the government and private sector to provide necessary services to them
- Mental health disorders are seen as a taboo and even the government spending on these is less than 1% of the total health budget
- In the judiciary system, children with disabilities are not seen as ‘legal’ witnesses which puts them at risk for abuse and violations
- Building and public infrastructure is not designed to provide access to all especially for people with disabilities
In the 60 years of our freedom, it does seem like we’re failing these children in multiple ways. And it’s not just another blame going to the government, it is for us to think just how much do we care?
DISCLAIMER : The data that has been provided in the above post has not been collected by MIEF. Instead it has been provide by trusted third party sources. MIEF shares this data with the belief that by creating awareness we can allow ourselves to think of a better world. Relevant Sources are mentioned below –
Ministry of Women and Child Development, Report: Working Group on Development of Children for the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) from http://wcd.nic.in/
CIF, 2008. Challenging Boundaries: A study on mentally challenged children .CHILDLINE India Foundation, Mumbai.
Children with disabilities are covered under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995.