to Ministry of Social Welfare there are
11,000 disabled children in Armenia.
Wednesday (December 3) in Yerevan's Hayordats
(Sons of Armenia) House of Malatia-Sebastia community
the International Day of Disabled was marked.
Thirty five disabled children participating in
the event representing different communities of
Many of their friends cheered them and greeted
them with applause from the hall, but still it
took a lot of courage to get on the stage.
"I'm thinking whether I'll be able to perform
in front of an audience some day," said one
young blind man who was embarrassed to give his
name. "Probably not, since I'm not strong
enough. The feeling of inferiority is smothering
Julietta Hovhannisyan from "Jah" non-governmental
organization for disabled children's parents says
they want to show people that these children,
too, have a right to sit in a hall next to healthy
"Today is their holiday and they themselves
are being celebrated by their disabled friends,"
The last rehearsal is taking place behind the
stage. Eliza Hovhannisyan is helping her friend
Tamara to put on make up. Tamara is walking with
difficulty; she is going to recite on the stage.
She is so excited she can hardly talk. Her only
wish is that there are less disabled children
in the world and people treat them better.
Not far from them children from N18 boarding
school who have problems with hearing are rehearsing
a dance item. Head of the group Hasmik Satyan
is talking to them through sign language.
"Today is our holiday, and we are not ashamed
of that. With our dance we prove that we're not
any different from others," they explain
Since 1992, December 3 has been the International
Day of Disabled. According to the Ministry of
Social Welfare today there are 115,000 disabled
in Armenia and 11,000 are younger than 18.
"The idea of the event is saying 'no' to
pity," says Lida Mnatsakanyan from Vahan
NGO for disabled. "Today there are parents
who are afraid to take children out of their homes.
But the time has come. They have to be treated
and accepted the way they are."
Secretary of Council for the Disabled, MP Artak
Arakelyan was greeted with applause when he announced
that beginning January 1, some television programs
in Armenia will include sign language, according
to a new law.
The event was organized by the Council for the
Disabled at the National Assembly, Nerses Mets
(Nerses the Great) union for disabled and eight
from N18 boarding school who have problems
with hearing dance with the help of signing
interpreter Hasmik Satyan.
"Today all the NGOs dealing with problems
of disabled are included in that council. The
purpose is to restore their trampled rights,"
says the president of Nerses Mets Ruben Vardanyan.
Such NGOs in Armenia were created to protect
the rights of disabled. According to Vardanyan,
first these were organizations that received and
distributed aid, but there was a need for attention
from the state.
"Finally, today the NGO-state-National Assembly
connection does exist and it means that we are
being taken into account. Many incomplete laws
concerning the disabled are being changed today
and new ones that will help to improve the lives
of these people, are now being added to the legislation,"
The adopting of new law was taken by the disabled
as gift of the government in honor of their day.
At the end of the event participants also received
some gifts - 2000 drams rewards, sweets and clothes.