All children are talented and have rights to a decent education and development, and professional help of specialists can change the quality of life and give a chance to a decent and successful future for any child – especially for child with disabilities. In Kazakhstan, there are more than 150 thousand children with disabilities. Currently, only 27% of them go to regular school. According to the UN Children’s Foundation in Kazakhstan 67% of children with special needs between the ages of 3 to 6 years old do not attend pre-school.
Often the families where a child was born with disabilities remain alone with their problem, without any idea what to do and how to raise their child. A number of operating special organizations in our country, where the special child and his family can get professional correctional care in the community is not enough.
Thus, the family with special child is forced to send him to boarding school or to move with him to another town to give him an education and professional support, where care is provided. Usually they remain on home-based learning; sometimes the child and all can be left out of the educational process. But each child needs not only education, but also the full development from a very early age, as well as communication and socialization with peers.
In 2014 the Foundation “Dara” to promote fundamental and qualitative changes initiated a project to expand and equip a modern network of Centers with psychological and special education to children with disability throughout Kazakhstan.
SERVICE CENTERS are the institutions where any particular child and a family can get qualified help of specialists such as a therapist, psychologist, speech therapist, physiotherapist, masseur, tiflopedagog. Services are provided to children and their families free of charge (subsidised by local budgets) and at own neighbourhood. Our strategic goal is to make such centers easily accessible for each family with a child with special needs or developmental challenges.
Geography of project
The purpose of the project is to open at least one Serivce Center in each regional city including Astana and Almaty. For the two past years, the project has already opened 15 centers in different cities of Kazakhstan, while in most of which there was no similar Centre before.
Today the opened Centres service more than 2,000 children with special needs, thus in some cities the demand for special education and rehabilitation services was reduced by half. The future plans of the project is to open a minimum of 5 new Centers in the west, south and north Kazakhstan. Also, the project does equipping the existing government service centres. It should be noted that the project is implemented through the public-private partnerships. Local executive authorities have shown great interest in opening such centers by providing premises at general schools and financing to the staff of Centres. The “DARA” Foundation provides an adaptation of premises towards barrier-free environment, purchases materials and technical equipment. One of the sponsors supporting our initiative is the national company “Samruk-Kazyna Trust”. All Centres after opening are being transferred to the local authorities, which ensures project’s continuity and resilience.
The key to the success of the new centers is a professional level of staff. Realizing the importance of this issue, the Foundation is regularly organises a large number of training seminars and master classes for the staff of its Centres. Education of provided with participation of leading international and national experts, almost in all areas of special education and rehabilitation of children with developmental disorders. Many new and modern techniques and approaches are being introduced in Kazakhstan through these seminars, including: child capacity evaluation system KID / RCDI, physical therapy, psychological support clubs and parents’ education, early intervention practices, Montessori method, etc. It is important that professionals who have been trained at seminars after returning home share their acquired knowledge with their colleagues from other regions, towns and villages nearby. We are convinced that the process of training Centres’ staff should be continuous and high-quality as professional development specialists is a key to effective inclusion.
Support the families
Very important role in the development of the child plays family. Our center’s specialists give a big support to special child’s parents, including psychological therapy. In our centers the parents are actively involved in studies conducted with the child. We have a Support Club for parents, and opened the group a short stay to leave the child for 2-3 hours. High-quality support to families of children with developmental disorders is the prevention of abandonment of children with disabilities.
Centers opened with the support of the project will later become a Resource Centres for development of inclusive education in their regions. As generators of new progressive attitude towards disability in general, increasing social child’s activity and family-centred approach, the Centres will share their knowledge and expert advice with inclusive schools and parents community. We believe that centers have great potential to become a real resource for the promotion of inclusive education in our country.
Our sponsors are:
- The Foundation for Social Projects «Samruk-Kazyna Trust»in Kokshetau, Karaganda, Aktobe, Astana, Taraz and Ust-Kamenogorsk;
- JSC “Oil Company KOR” in Kyzylorda;
- The auction sponsors «Fashion for Charity» in Almaty;
- The International Women’s Club and the sponsors of the event “Burns Supper” in Taldykorgan
- Private sponsors in Almaty;
- LLP «East Trade Solutions» in Atyrau and Pavlodar.