Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country with a 99.5% literacy rate yet to the child abuse shoots up 73%. Stepping away from traditional fundraising projects of educating or alleviating poverty, SNCC Kyrgyzstan comes forward with a project to “Educate Kyrgyzstan” regarding the existing stigma of abuse.
This country lacks awareness about the existing issue and the citizens possess reserved mindsets of avoiding the dialogue about it.
We are here to kick-start the dialogue with the 134 villages of Naryn region. We are aiming to cover residential institutions, schools, orphanages and crisis centres to discuss the significant topics of child abuse, mental stigma, self-defense and childcare with children, parents and teachers.
It is a call to civil society to wake and shake!
Start speaking & start now!
Kyrgyzstan has a population of 6.3 million people. It is a young nation as 2.1 million of the total population are children. It makes up to 36.5 percent of its population. Kyrgyzstan has achieved significant progress in improving the situation of children. Still, more needs to be done to address the remaining challenges faced by children and families to change their lives for the better. Issues like child poverty, low quality-education, abuse and violence are still some common issues in the country.
According to the UNICEF research “Almost 73 per cent of children report experiencing abuse or neglect in the family”. Besides that, many children are separated from their families and live in residential care institutions. One of the major reasons for it is that couple separation rates are quite higher in Kyrgyzstan, and it leads to a higher rate of migration to other countries after separation. “An estimated 650,000 to 750,000 citizens of Kyrgyzstan work abroad. Their salaries totalled the equivalent of more than 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2015, making Kyrgyzstan one of the most remittance-dependent countries in the world.” – UNICEF – “Children of migrants”. Being deprived of the care of their parents or close relatives, children go throw psychological depression.
Another threat to the wellbeing of children is caused by the increasing number of dysfunctional families and alcohol and substance abuse, which results in widespread exploitation, abuse and violence. According to UNICEF research: “Over 57 per cent of children aged 1-14 have experienced violent disciplining”.
The problematic situation further gets complicated by the fact that parents often lack the knowledge and skills to interact effectively with their children – even simple play can boost a child’s intellectual, cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.
Moreover, youth unemployment and underemployment rates are high, and many adolescents feel disenfranchised and experience injustice and inequality. Children and young people live in an environment characterized by local conflicts, poor inter-communal relations and divided ethnic communities.
Kyrgyzstan is a signatory of the Convention of the Rights of the Child since 7th October 1994. Moreover, the article 12, paragraph 3 of the Kyrgyz constitution states: “International treaties and agreements to which the Kyrgyz Republic is a party and other universally accepted principles and normatives of international law joined into force as prescribed by law shall be a constituent and directly effective part of the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic.” Additionally, the Kyrgyz constitution states in Article 16, Paragraph 1 that: “In the Kyrgyz Republic, basic human rights and freedoms are recognized and guaranteed in accordance with universally accepted norms and principles of international law, international treaties and agreements concerning human rights which have joined into legal force.”
Regardless of Kyrgyzstan being the signatory of the convention yet for all these years, the country has not fulfilled the expectations of kicking out child abuse and torture completely.
Most of the programs around the world often press the issue of literacy, and Kyrgyzstan’s literacy rate is 99.5% yet the abuse rates are quite alarming. We are here to introduce education for abuse among the most sensitive people on the globe – children. This abuse can be of any form – mental, physical, social, etc. The program would introduce monthly lessons on abuse in every school of every city in the country initiating the program from the most rural areas. The lessons would cover not only children but for adults as well.
It is much easier to protect a child than to heal a broken adult!
We all are living in a world, where money, fame and pleasure are much more valued than human life. A quarter of all adults reported in this world are abused in one or other way as a child.
The major challenge is that in this corrupt world, the only prevention of this deeply embedded issue is awareness. The only way that a child would ensure its protection, or a parent would stand for the child is aware that abuse exists, and it must be resolved rather than ignored.
In an ultra-traditional country like Kyrgyzstan, it is a shame to even touch this topic then how would one freely talk about it? Only through awareness in schools, when organizations like us would appeal to teachers and parents to let us freely walk in and educate kids and adults that they shall be protected from abuse.
We are not planning to just prepare presentations and give walk-in sessions. However, we are planning to at least visit a school once a month for subsequently 4 months to embed every aspect of abuse teaching in children, teachers and parents. Our sessions would include role-plays, self-defense lessons, awareness about mental stigmas, gender-specific lessons, expert guest lecturers, and celebrity invites.
We will start from the most rural areas as these are more prone to abuse problems and law-and-order situations in villages make it more difficult for cases to be reported. We will assign 4 months to a city and once the campaign would end in that city then we will move to the next city. Our first region will be Naryn region including 134 villages/towns.
Through market research and visits to Crisis Centres, we encountered the need to provide school supplies to displaced and poor children. In the country, education is free of cost, however, lack of school supplies hinder children to attend schools. Thus, during our campaigns, we are aiming to provide basic school supplies to children in need so their education should not be affected due to the abuse cases.
Long Term Impact
The long-term impact would be to cover the entire country with our awareness lessons and introduce a new concept in the country.
It is a very long-term project, but it would be an inspiration for other child organizations to collaborate with us and spread around the country to support our drive to introduce and embed child abuse awareness.