Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Providing access to clean water for children in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Nour Hartu with her youngest daughter, Tosmin Ara, in A Nauk Ywe village
©UNICEF Myanmar/2015/Myo Thame
Children and families in Myanmar’s Rakhine State are still recovering from the sectarian violence that erupted in 2012. Many live in camps, where they are vulnerable to both water shortages and floods. UNICEF is currently helping flood-affected families to access clean water, but when we visited in early June, they faced the opposite problem – water shortages caused by a prolonged period of drought.

Less than an hour boat journey separates Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, from A Nauk Ywe village, where over 1,000 Muslim families were relocated after the 2012 inter-communal violence in Rakhine State. Although the camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) was set up a few steps away from the waterfront, it faces a serious problem of water shortages every dry season.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Photo story: children with disabilities in Mongolia

© UNICEF Mongolia/2015/Andy Brown
Children with disabilities have the same rights as other children – to an education, health care, protection and survival. But they need more support to achieve these rights. UNICEF works with the Mongolian government and other partners to support disabled children and their families.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Photos: Myanmar flood

UNICEF staff assesses the needs of children and families in Lai Nyin Tha village,
Mrauk U township, one of the worst-hit areas in Rakhine State.
©UNICEF Myanamr/2015/Than Tin
Myanmar has been suffering damaging floods following weeks of heavy rains, with rains and winds from cyclone Komen that made landfall in Bangladesh on 30 July. As of beginning of August, the floods killed more than 50 people and have affected around 259,000 across the country, of which over 88,000 are children.

Among the worst affected regions are two of the poorest states: Chin and Rakhine. The most urgent needs are for food, shelter, water, sanitation, and access to emergency health care.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Inclusive education: getting closer to home

Phanukphong, right, goes to a special school far from his family.
© UNICEF EAPRO/2015/Hyunjeong Lee
Disabled children and their parents can face incredible challenges and tough choices. For many in Thailand, like elsewhere, this includes choosing whether to live together or send their children to remote special schools. Yesterday, I met two amazing rural Thai male students who shared their experiences on living apart from their families to attend special schools.

Phanukphong, a 17-year-old native of Nong Khai Province near the Thai-Lao border, who has a shy but extremely charming smile, is currently going to a special school for the deaf in another province.

James, an 18-year-old blind boy who confidently introduced himself to me in English, also goes to a boarding school, about 400 kilometers from his home. Both of them traveled long hours to perform during the International Conference on Special Education, taking place in Bangkok.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Weaving communities and understanding together

Sahoko, centre, with her parents at the first international conference on
special education.
© UNICEF EAPRO/2015/Hyunjeong Lee
Sahoko Kotake, a talented 24-year old born with Down syndrome, spent most of her schooling years in public school. The reason why she spent most of her schooling years outside of a special school was, for me, inspirational.

“When Sahoko was three, we took her to a gym. Because she was not physically strong, she often fell. But then we saw others kids help her,” her parents told me. “It was our ‘ah-ha’ moment - a child like our daughter can help other children to learn to live together. So we decided to send her to a regular school and hoped that others would better understand a person like Sahoko.”