United Nations 2030 agenda
Caudwell Children, together with the Sikh Human Rights Group, is calling on member states of the United Nations to improve the world for disabled children through the promotion of increased inclusivity, accessibility and understanding through the delivery of practical and emotional services.
By working together and collaborating to adopt a strengths-based approach to inclusion, and by embracing our diverse communities, we can remove some of the societal barriers disabled children face and recognise the valuable contribution every person can make to the world.
Caudwell Children want member states to align with its guiding principle.
CEO Trudi Beswick, who has led the charity since its foundation by John Caudwell in 2000, was invited to attend the 42nd UN Human Rights Council Assembly as an affiliate of the Sikh Human Rights Group (SHRG), a campaign group with special consultative status at the United Nations.
During the visit, Mrs Beswick represented both organisations in delivering prepared statements in the iconic Human Rights and Alliance of Civilisations Room in Geneva, which were also live-streamed to viewers across the world via the UN’s website.
Trudi commented on the visit: “We have worked closely with Dr Jasdev Singh Rai and the team at the Sikh Human Rights Group to prepare our joint statement for the UN, which highlights the social and human rights inequalities that disabled children often face.”
Studies have shown that 70% of autistic people without learning disabilities would like to work yet most remain unemployed. Additionally, many people with autism possess unique strengths in other areas that enable them to excel in particular disciplines.
If we improve our understanding of where complex interactions occur between physical and mental health provision, as well as adopt both a medical model for human rights indicators on disability and mobility together with a social model of health and inclusiveness, member states would be better equipped to make affirmative policies concerning disabilities in children.
As the CEO of a disabled children charity, Trudi underlines that: “our aim is to provide the support children and families need to reach their full potential, and if by collaborating to share our approach with states and organisations across the world we can help influence lasting change for disabled people then it is imperative that we make the most of these opportunities”.
In a similar vein to the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – it is vital for the UN to set out and follow a guiding convention that covers all aspects of a disabled child’s life. Furthermore, member states must work together to ensure that every child with a disability has a right to the best possible start in life.
To lead by example, Caudwell Children has partnered with Auriga to deliver the “Warm Homes” campaign, which provides funding and support services to families with disabled children across the Midlands region of the UK.
From the very beginning, our mission has been to see a world where all disabled children and their families have choice, opportunity, dignity and understanding.
The World Report on Disability, published by The World Health Organisation in 2011, estimates childhood disabilities (0-14 years) affect approximately 95 million (5.1%) children, of whom 13 million (0.7%) have “severe disability” (link).
The staggeringly high number of people with a childhood disability is also prevalent within every section of society – irrelevant of race, gender, religious beliefs or geographical location. Therefore, it highlights the importance of working in concert to improve the lives of disabled children and their families.
Leading by example, Caudwell Children embarked on a 10-year journey to design and build the Caudwell International Children’s Centre. Opened in 2019, the facility includes state-of-the-art assessment suites, a sensory garden to help children interact with nature and family activity suites for on-going workshops and support programmes.
Trudi explains: “We hope the new centre will unite the world’s leading experts on autism diagnosis and therapy and set a new standard for the UK. It is just as much about giving support to parents and families as it is the children with autism and this has shaped every part of this exciting project, from the look and feel of the building to the structure of the support programme we will offer. Our objective is to provide a gold standard clinical service and the required evidence base for autism interventions to eventually enter mainstream healthcare, giving families a brighter future following diagnosis.”
The Centre was designed and built in consultation with people with autism, parents, carers, clinicians and experts.
Fundamentally, the architecture of the Centre adopts an autism-friendly design to buildings, interiors and environment.
It is our mission to showcase the benefits and importance of accessible architectural design to the lives and well-being of children with disability.
The ‘Inclusive Education’ report, published by Unicef in 2017 (link), summarises inclusive education as the following:
“An education system that includes all students, and welcomes and supports them to learn, whomever they are and whatever their abilities or requirements. This means making sure that teaching and the curriculum, school buildings, classrooms, play areas, transport and toilets are appropriate for all children at all levels. Inclusive education means all children learn together in the same schools.
No-one should be excluded. Every child has a right to inclusive education, including children with disabilities.”
Of course, inclusivity in regards to child disability is not restricted to schools. Member states must take an inclusive approach to every facet of a child’s life.
In 2020, Caudwell Children began its delivery of the “Digital Skills” programme, which provides young learners with Autism between the ages of 18-25 to enter the digital industry job market. The 10-week programme provides young learners with training, support and work experience opportunities to gain relevant employability skills to secure a work placement.
It is the lessons that we acquired over the past 20-years that we aim to share with the United Nations to impact policies and legislation regarding disabled children positively.
In what is being hailed as a new era for the charity since opening the new centre, Trudi and the team are also increasing the amount of training and education they provide to support organisations helping them become more inclusive and to promote greater understanding of disability.
The Caudwell International Children’s Centre allows Caudwell Children to be a point of access to other organisations for support, training and education to help them become more inclusive and to promote greater understanding of disability.
As the first centre of its kind in the UK, it brings together assessment, diagnosis, family support and research into autism, under one roof. With a specialist team of psychologists, occupational therapists, family support and clinical research staff; it allows parents and children to work with a multi-disciplinary team of specialists in one place and enable families to get a diagnosis for their child in as little as six weeks.
Let's work together
We want to work with corporate partners and philanthropists that align with our global vision.
Our UN Agenda for 2030 is an ambitious one.
We can only truly accomplish our goals with support from generous corporate partners and philanthropists.
By jointly working together, we can make a huge difference to the 5% of children living with a disability across the world.
Governments have the power to shape the world’s approach to policy surrounding children with a disability – thereby, making a positive impact on disabled children’s lives. Working together to set out and deliver on an ambitious agenda, based on a solid, research-based framework, will provide policymakers with a roadmap to create a brighter future for every disabled child.
With our combined clinical expertise and research team; experience of working with disabled children; and creating a first of its kind autism-friendly centre; we hope to facilitate governments with the tools to promote awareness of disability in children, improved classroom construction, train teachers in inclusive approaches, and address the issue of discrimination.
We believe that our beneficiaries bring a unique outlook to our UN 2030 Agenda. As the direct recipients of our work, beneficiaries can share their experience and impact of our work to the world and how it has influenced their day-to-day lives.
It is crucial that we let those voices be heard and let children with disability guide us to the right path to change.
Within the full statement, entitled ‘See the child, not the disability’, the SHRG praised the work of the charity stating:
“By continually listening to the needs of a child and their families and giving them a say in what is important to them, Caudwell Children has become a pillar of strength to children and families requiring clearer support pathways, instilling a ‘Whatever It Takes’ commitment to their beneficiaries. A key instigator of ensuring people and organisations collaborate rather than work in silos, Caudwell Children has been able to raise awareness about disability throughout UK society, often challenging the instantaneity in which stereotypes about children with mental health conditions are formed.”
Summing up the work to data with the United Nations, CEO Trudi Beswick, comments:
“It has been a fantastic experience, and I hope it is just the beginning of our work here at the UN, but more importantly it was an opportunity to highlight the need for a more inclusive and accepting society. Every child, regardless of ability, should be given the same opportunities to flourish.”