ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN - Caritas promotes inclusion and trains “accompanying teachers”

Thursday, 29 April 2021 disabled   human rights   caritas   school   society  

Almaty (Agenzia Fides) – To promote a culture of inclusion, the Church in Kazakhstan has launched a number of initiatives that benefit children with physical or mental disabilities or people with Down syndrome. The cooperation between Caritas Kazakhstan and educational institutions is particularly valuable: "We are working on the development of a project", Fr. Guido Trezzani, Director of Caritas Kazakhstan, told Fides - "in which some educational institutions in Almaty will be involved. The initiative is being implemented with the contribution of some Italian donors, and we are developing an online course for the training of “accompanying teachers”, which currently does not exist in Kazakhstan. We think and hope that this idea that arose here in Almaty can lead to a new awareness of the educational needs of children with disabilities in the rest of the country too", he concludes. The social integration of children with disabilities is to be promoted through cooperation with state institutions. For this purpose an "inclusion park" is being set up in one of the public parks in Almaty. It is necessary to take an additional step towards concrete inclusion. The city administration has given us space to design a public park equipped to organize activities and events that are not only aimed at people with disabilities, but to everyone else too. We envision a place where these people can spend time together, have fun and train". In agreement with local institutions, communal rooms are also to be made available for vocational training, according to Fr. Trezzani: "These are activities that were created to integrate young people with Down syndrome into the world of work. We made a decision a few months ago to include people with disabilities of any kind in our programs. That is exactly why we were looking for a larger venue than the previous one. With this new structure, we will certainly have more space and be able to accommodate a greater number of young people. "Activities with children affected by trisomy 21 have been initiated by the diocesan Caritas of Almaty and then merged into a project extended to the rest of the country: with the support of Italian experts, seminars and lessons are periodically organized in various cities of Kazakhstan to provide basic knowledge to parents and observe children's progress. The Caritas initiatives are also an opportunity to promote the community and actively collaborate with civil institutions for the small minority of the Catholic community with around 150,000 members (less than 1% of a 67.8% Muslim population). Overall, the proportion of Christians of all denominations in Kazakhstan is 26.5%. Today there are 4 Catholic dioceses in the Central Asian country with a total of 70 parishes and 91 priests, including dioceses (61) and religious (30). (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 29/4/2021)