At least 10% of Russian summer camp places to go to children with disabilities
At least 10% of summer camp places to be reserved for children with disabilities
At its meeting on 18 April, the State Duma passed the first reading of a Bill that will allow the allocation of recreation places for children with disabilities.
The Bill’s authors want to strengthen the concept of a child’s leisure time by ensuring that all children have equal access to rest and recreation. The Bill will also help to prevent children’s recreational organisations from refusing to accept disabled children, said Tatyana Larionova, a member of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children and co-author of the Bill.
At the moment, special needs children spend their holidays in separate out-of-town institutions attached to remedial and residential facilities, said Larionova. This, she added, does not allow children to socialise or acquire the skills necessary to live in a community.
Larionova explained that there have been just over 100,000 more special needs children in Russia over the past six years. “These numbers are increasing year on year. In 2016, there were 617,000 – in 2023 there will be 722,000 which is around 2% of all children in Russia”, Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports.
How the Bill will work
The Bill will include a quota of at least 10% of the total number of places at recreational facilities to be set aside for children with disabilities. Each region will have the authority to distribute this share among local organisations, making sure they have enough of the right equipment and that their facilities are suitable for special needs children.
“Children with musculoskeletal disorders suffer the most. After all, if someone cannot gain access to a building or take part in all the activities offered at a children’s camp, then you can hardly call it a proper holiday”, said Galina Gorbatykh, Deputy Chair of the Public Chamber Commission on Housing, Construction and Roads as quoted in Parlamentskaya Gazeta. In order to maintain a friendly atmosphere in the camps, there should be specially trained volunteers, supported by a mentor, she added.
Enacting the law on “inclusive children’s recreation” will require the upgrading of infrastructure within children’s camps, as well as the purchase of additional medical equipment, said Tatyana Larionova. The ASI previously reported on an inclusive camp organised for children with Down Syndrome at the Artek international child centre in the summer of 2022.
The Bill was submitted to the State Duma last December and is expected to become law on 1 January 2024.