Change for every child in Kazakhstan

A happy girl attending school

To a lot of people, Kazakhstan is still a mystery. After I published my first article, a lot of readers messaged me to know about the situation of children in Kazakhstan.

On World Children’s Day, with the release of the Situation Analysis from UNICEF Kazakhstan, I am sharing my two cents in this article to cherish the tremendous achievements and indicate the remaining challenges ahead for every child in Kazakhstan

Children and adolescents in Kazakhstan constitute 31.4% of the total population, which means 1 out of 3 citizens is a child. The vast proportion of children in Kazakhstan requires special attention in its development. 

In 1994, the 1st President of Kazakhstan signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in New York, which marks the beginning of this milestone. Throughout these 25 years, hard-won gains are achieved immensely, with the collaboration of the government and relevant parties.

Nationally, Kazakhstan set the overarching objective of becoming one of the 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050, while children are placed at the centre of the country’s development priorities.

1st president signing CRC

With the fivefold decrease in the infant mortality rate, almost net enrolment in education approaching 100%, the average number of years of schooling increased to 15.1, the well-being and livelihood of children undoubtedly improved and developed a lot.

The establishment of the Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights in 2016 also serves as a greater platform to ensure and protect children’s rights and interests at a macro-level. The Government of Kazakhstan has made a huge stride in enhancing the betterment of every child. 

A boy throwing snowball

The country has grown; however, problems are not fully solved. 

Entering the 21st century, children encounter more and more challenges preventing them from enjoying their rights and reaching their full potential.

Almost 20% of children aged 6 to 9 suffer excessive weight or obesity; around 40% of children experience physical violence from parents/adults in the household;  Only 6.6% of children aged 36-59 months had biological fathers who engaged in four or more activities to promote learning and school readiness; The not in employment, education or training (NEET) rate for 15- to 24-year-olds was 9.5%.

Millions of children, especially the poorest and most marginalized, are being left behind. The children with disabilities are out of the door in education. 

Children’s rights are at a crossroads. 

Crossroads for children

However, there is hope. With the advent of technology, improvement in medical services, shrinking space between nations, the development of every child should be able to flourish and blossom if we are willing to cooperate, change and accelerate.

The future of our society belongs to children. Throughout these 25 years, tremendous achievements for children have been reached locally, however, one should not boast and brag with this. In this ever-changing environment, children facing severe and acute challenges than they used to be. 

How we treat our children shapes the future we want and desire. Only by collaborated effort and accelerating the progress could we find the solutions and achieve greater milestone #foreverychild.

#KidsTakeOver should not only be a paper talk during the World Children’s Day. Every child is entitled the right to voice their opinions loudly and proudly, demand for their rights, free of any restrictions or boundaries at any moments. Children’s demands should be listened, respected and treated earnestly. Every day should be World Children’s Day.

Everyone can be the next Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai – fighting the rights #foreverychild. 
Girls in Kazakhstan