“Children with disabilities are among the most marginalised in the world, being the least likely to receive healthcare facilities or go to school. They are among the most vulnerable to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, particularly if they are hidden or put in institutions — as many are, because of social stigma or the economic cost of raising them,” notes a report, ‘The State of the World’s Children - 2013’, released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) here on Thursday.

The combined result, according to the report, is that children with disabilities are among the most marginalised people in the world. Children living in poverty are among the least likely to attend their local school or clinic, but those who live in poverty and are disabled are even less likely to do so.

The report further stated that ‘gender’ is a key factor, as girls with disabilities are less likely than boys to receive food and care. “Discrimination on the grounds of disability is a form of oppression,” the report said, noting that multiple deprivations lead to even greater exclusion for many children with disabilities.

There is little accurate data on the number of children with disabilities, what disabilities these children have and how this affects their lives. As a result few governments have a dependable guide for allocating resources to support and assist children with disabilities and their families, it notes.

“Concentrating on the abilities and potential of children with disabilities can create benefits for society as a whole. When you see disability before the child, it is not only wrong for the child, but also deprives society of all that this child has to offer,” said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.

The document further laid out how societies can include children with disabilities because when they play a full part in society, everyone benefits. For instance, inclusive education broadens the horizons of all children even as it presents opportunities for children with disabilities to fulfil their ambitions.

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