Situation of people with disabilities in Kyrgyzstan
In the time of the Soviet Union, handicapped and mentally ill people were isolated in homes under conditions that were degrading. This is still common practice in state institutions. People with disabilities still live there “like in a stable”.
People with disabilities are regarded as worthless, unable to develop, and so far not integrated into society. The Kyrgyz Ministry of Health considers children with disabilities as incurable and is not willing to support work for people with disabilities: “Let them die,” they say. The Ministry of Education just feels responsible for “healthy” children. In the ministry of social affairs, it is slowly recognized that more has to be done for people with disabilities.
The awareness for people with disabilities also grows in the general public. Still, many people think that they could get infected if they are in contact with disabled people and then give birth to a handicapped child. The Social Village Manas contributes excellent awareness training and shows people that inclusion and living together is possible.
Since the 1990s, self-help groups of affected parents, disabled adults and mentally ill persons have developed into state-registered non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, they often depend on foreign aid.
The Social Village Manas is one of the first privately run projects in Kyrgyzstan who provide a place for young and adult people with disabilities to live and work dignified.