Your support will help people with disabilities to have more fulfilling lives

There are 14 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Russia. The vast majority of them still face daily discrimination, as well as attitudinal and physical barriers to education, employment, recreation and sports, and family life. More than 3 million PWDs are of working age. However, only about 30 percent of them are employed. There are more than 500,000 children with disabilities (CWDs) in Russia and nearly 200,000 are still segregated in residential institutions, special education schools or isolated in their homes. Official statistics estimate that more than 10,000 CWDs receive no education at all. Although more than 20,000 CWDs went to mainstream schools in 2014/2015, the majority of CWDs are not getting sufficient support, are in separate classrooms, are home schooled or are enrolled in distance learning programs. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are even more isolated, as they have little or no opportunities after they leave school.

Fortunately, the situation in Russia is finally changing for PWDs. Russian cities are slowly becoming more accessible, thanks to federal and local funding and new legislation, e.g., a new law on education went into force on September 1, 2013, and guarantees inclusive education for children with special education needs. Attitudes towards people with disabilities are also changing as PWDs become more visible. Perspektiva and Best Buddies Russia are actively participating in this process, but they need your support to continue their activities.

Best Buddies Russia (www.bestbuddies.ru) has programs to create new opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities through one-on-one friendships, leadership training and supported or inclusive employment.

Perspektiva (www.perspektiva-inva.ru) aims to improve the quality of life of PWDs through inclusive education, employment, leadership and youth empowerment programs, access to sports and recreation activities, as well as through raised awareness about PWDs. Since 1997, Perspektiva has helped more than 100,000 PWDs across Russia to secure jobs, get access to education and sports and become more independent and accepted in their communities.

Perspektiva, a Russian disability non-profit, and Best Buddies Russia are participating in the Charity Instead of Souvenirs program. By donating your cash gift to these organizations, you can provide support for their programs, which aim to create new opportunities for children with disabilities. To acknowledge your generous donations, Perspektive and Best Buddies will provide you with the design of a holiday card that you can print and send to your partners. Your support will help people with disabilities to have more fulfilling lives.

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