“Hug Me!” action takes place again

“Hug Me!” action with the participation of people with disabilities and volunteers took place at Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 15.30 to the right of the main entrance to the shopping center PROMENADE in Almaty.

The organizers of the action were Civil Society Development Association (ARGO) and the Association of Women with Disabilities “Shyrak.” It is part of the National Information Campaign “Empowerment Now!”. It is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID and focuses on the development of equal and respectful attitude towards people with disabilities (PWD) among the population of Kazakhstan.

“Unfortunately, the number of people with disabilities in Kazakhstan is growing day by day” – says CEO of “ARGO” Jamila Assanova. Through this campaign, the organizers want to give people the opportunity to express their attitude towards people with disabilities. Today, the National information campaign is conducted in seven regions by the network of NGOs through seminars about social adaptation of people with disabilities and trainings for parents with children with disabilities; organizing youth clubs, where children and teenagers with various disabilities can meet with their peers, spend their leisure time together. There were inclusive festivals of creativity for people with special needs, also work with the media, including training for journalists how to use terminology on PWD issues correctly.

Lyazzat Kaltayeva, Chairwoman of “Shyrak” as the participant of the previous successful “Hug me!” activity shares her impressions: “… The aim of the action is to destroy negative stereotypes, fears and prejudices that exist in the society in relation to people with disabilities. I think that today people with disabilities have made the first step and showed that there is no difference if the person is on wheelchair or on legs. Most importantly, it is just a person; it is just communication between people. Today during “Hug me!” activity we have seen that 70-80% of people just want to talk and are not afraid to live without any prejudice.”