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UNICEF and H&M Foundation launch new Be Inclusive campaign supporting children with disabilities

Children with disabilities often face prejudices. Because of this, the children are hidden and restrained from being part of the society, making it extremely difficult for them to reach their full potential. A digital global awareness campaign supported by H&M Foundation launches today, focusing on inclusion of the 240 million children around the world who live with disabilities. Regardless of where these children grow up, they are more likely to experience greater difficulties with exclusion and lack of participation than children without disabilities are.

© UNICEF/UN0251358/Herwig

According to the (November 2021) UNICEF Report Seen, Counted, Included. Using data to shed light on the well-being of children with disabilities, children with disabilities have:

  • 49% greater probability of never attending school
  • 41% greater probability of being discriminated against
  • 51% more likely to feel unhappy

The report advises that the keys to change are increased knowledge, representation and inclusion.

“Children with disabilities often face prejudices. Through increased inclusion, we hope to change these negative attitudes and transform the lives and futures of thousands of young children with disabilities – helping them reach their full health, happiness, wellbeing and learning ability”

Diana Amini, Global Manager at H&M Foundation.

UNICEF and H&M Foundation have worked together since 2014. The first three-year partnership aimed to place early childhood development on the global agenda and help give the most vulnerable and excluded children the best start in life. In 2017, H&M Foundation and UNICEF renewed their commitment, and the foundation invested in UNICEF’s early childhood development programmes, helping to reach more than 145,000 children, parents, teachers and influencers in Timor-Leste, Egypt, Mali and Vietnam. At the same time H&M Foundation also added funds for a programme aimed at giving children with disabilities in Bulgaria, Peru and Uganda access to early childhood development services.

“As illustrated in this report, our experience is that children with disabilities experience stigma and discrimination in all spheres of life. The key lies in changing societal attitudes and behaviours. The ‘Be Inclusive’ campaign will be a step in that direction – turning the tide on exclusion and discrimination, to build a more inclusive society that sees, hears and includes the voices of children with disabilities.”

Carla Haddad Mardini, Director of Partnerships at UNICEF

The Be Inclusive campaign has a positive and empowering message with images and voices from children with disabilities. The campaign launch aligns with the Global Disability Summit taking place in Norway this week, February 14-17, 2022.

About the “Be Inclusive” campaign
The Be Inclusive campaign’s objective is to raise awareness about the importance of inclusion in all parts of society, in order to break stigma and challenge outdated and discriminatory perceptions and biases regarding children with disabilities. The aim is also to empower the world’s nearly 240 million children living with disabilities, and to make parents, teachers, friends and others around those children understand that everyone has a responsibility when it comes to creating a more inclusive world. It also includes concrete and useful tips on how you can be a more inclusive friend. Preventing prejudice is everyone’s responsibility and the campaign calls for that action.