On the occasion of Children’s Day 2016, CAN DO holds a stakeholder conference to promote the rights of children with disabilities,


To celebrate Children’s Day 2016, the Child Advocacy Network of Disability Organizations (CAN DO), in association with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, is holding a one-day Stakeholder Conference today to recognize and address some of the key issues facing children with disabilities in the Maldives. H.E. Mr. Wang Fukang, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Maldives gave remarks at the the opening ceremony of the conference held this morning at Mookai Hotel.

In addition to members of CAN DO, representatives from the President’s Office, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Law and Gender, Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure, the National Social Protection Agency, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, the Disability Council, UNDP Maldives and UNICEF Maldives will participate in the conference.

The Conference will provide a platform for an open and constructive discussion on the opportunities, challenges and way forward for stakeholders and civil society in promoting and protecting the rights of children with disabilities. In this regard, the discussion will focus on five key themes: “Access to Education,” “Early Intervention and Health,” “Social Protection,” “Physical Accessibility” and “Equality and Non-Discrimination”.

Speaking at the conference opening ceremony, ARC’s Executive Director, Ms. Zenysha Shaheed Zaki highlighted that overcoming the challenges facing children with disabilities in the five focus areas will bring about cumulative benefits that transcend beyond the individual level, to include their families and the whole community. On behalf of CAN DO, Maldives Autism Association’s Managing Director, Ms. Ifham Hussain conveyed sincere thanks and appreciation to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for the generous contribution and support towards the network’s efforts to make a marked improvement in the lives of children with disabilities.

Founding members of CAN DO include Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC), Association for Disability and Development (ADD), Beautiful Eyes Down Syndrome Association of Maldives, Blind and Visually Impaired Association of Maldives, Care Society, Maldives Autism Association, Maldives Deaf Association (MDA) and Maldives Association of Physical Disables (MAPD).

CAN DO aims to work together to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Maldives Disability Act, so that every child with disabilities in the country can live with full rights and dignity and are provided with opportunities to realize his or her full potential.