Why inclusion matters: defending disability rights for children in Mexico

Learn how Perkins is supporting families and communities to defend children's disability rights in Mexico.

A group of school aged children are parading with banners in celebration.

To break down the barriers that hinder children and adolescents with disabilities from participating in their communities, we must stand up for their rights. With local partners, Perkins is helping communities defend disability rights for children in Mexico. Their voices deserve recognition, and their unique needs should be embraced by their communities.

In Mexico, children’s rights are established in the Constitution and upheld by international treaties. Project Pixan, Perkins’ program increasing access to high-quality education for children with disabilities in Mexico, advocates for the inclusion of youths with disabilities in social and educational settings. 

Collaboration is key to building a world where every child belongs. Perkins teams up with schools, families, and governments to unite communities and foster a deep sense of inclusion.

Adonis is smiling in his wheelchair, posing for a picture with two teachers wearing traditional festive clothing.

The right to participate: Adonis’s story

When discussing children’s rights, it’s customary to emphasize access to education, healthcare, and protection against violence. However, one often overlooked yet highly significant aspect is the right of children to participate in cultural activities, recreation, leisure and sports, as stated in Article 30 of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Children with disabilities are frequently excluded from such activities due to a lack of understanding or willingness among those around them to provide inclusive opportunities.

Some schools participating in Project Pixan are flipping the script and creating opportunities for their kids to join in on the fun! Meet Adonis, a 19-year-old student at Special Education School CAM 8, in Champotón, Campeche.

When the staff from Project Pixan met him two years ago, Adonis was a passive observer in his wheelchair. He had minimal interaction with his peers and lacked the motivation to participate. Then, under the guidance of Perkins staff and the school principal who took Perkins International Academy, his classroom teacher Martha began to observe him more closely and identify Adonis’s expressions, preferences, and interests.

The teacher started employing  hand-under-hand techniques to support his communication. Soon after, Adonis’s world opened up. With home visits and consistent engagement, the family remained motivated to apply these strategies at home, leading Adonis to make his first independent move: reaching for a cookie without his mother’s assistance.

During the past school year, Adonis developed a keen interest in his surroundings, inspiring his peers to become his helpers. Together, they organized to include him, and Adonis became an active participant in community events. This October, Adonis has participated in his school’s celebrations for Campechanidad, a month-long celebration where people from the state of Campeche celebrate their rich history and culture through a series of events, dances, and parties.

How you can help

While Adonis’s story highlights the progress we’ve made, it also underscores the hard road that still lies ahead. This is precisely why organizations like Perkins exist. We bring schools, families, and governments together, so that children like Adonis all over the world have opportunities to participate in school and life.

As we celebrate Adonis’s initial steps towards a brighter future, remember that we all have a role to play in creating a world where every individual is recognized, celebrated, and given the opportunity to shine. Together, we can build a more inclusive and compassionate world, where no one is left waiting in the shadows.

Inspired by Adonis’s journey?

If you believe every child deserves an opportunity to learn, support our work today.

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