UNICEF Pacific announces new Pacific Ambassador
UNICEF Pacific has announced their newest Pacific Ambassador, Krishneer Sen, who will advocate for children.
UNICEF Pacific has announced its new Pacific Ambassador, Krishneer Sen, who will advocate for children.
The 27 year old Ambassador from Fiji who is also deaf, will have a special focus on children with disabilities.
Indira Moala reports.
Speaking through interpreter Gael Seru, Krishneer Sen says the greatest challenge for children in the Pacific who are living with a disability is their lack of self esteem in the communities they live in. Mr Sen says there is still a lack of awareness on children's rights and it is important that the government is supportive in raising awareness.
KRISHNEER SEN: They should support the dissemination of information about the rights to auralism for deaf children, the right to education, the right to play - all the rights of children. And they should have specific fundings to implement plans and policies on children's rights and it's important that the leaders play a big and a supportive role.
30 year old Susana Leota is Samoa's first disabled lawyer to be admitted to the Bar. Ms Leota was pleased to hear that the newly appointed role will have a special focus on children with disability. She says governments are still not equipped to deal with the challenges faced by children with disabilities.
SUSANA LEOTA: There are competing challenges from having a health sector who aren't fully equipped with either the right resources or the right staff or the right capacity or the funding, to the mindset of the culture - accepting these kids for who they and that God made them for what they are. It really starts with the mindset. Once the mindset is there, looking into the policies, looking into legislation - and looking at how the health system actually works. Once you're actually working with the health system to improve it. It actually can make a huge difference.
Ms Leota is short sighted and was born with Spina Bifida. She says most of the change in Samoa is coming from the work of NGOs and not the government.
SUSANA LEOTA: They're really pushing, not just for equality but for better opportunities for children in everything from schooling to sports. Yeah it's really interesting and it's quite heart warming to see that the NGO's are pushing it. And government, while they are working, they're not working fast enough, but they are responding and supporting in any way they can.
Mr Sen says the area he would like to see government support change in the most, is education.
KRISHNEER SEN: I want to see that the education level of all children - children with disabilities and other children, I want to see that their education is increased because I know education is the power to change lives for the future.
Mr Sen says he would like to see governments in the region increase support for children and their place in the community.
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