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Astana, Kazakhstan • 13 June 2022

French Couple Cycle Through Kazakhstan to Advocate Disability Inclusion

Émilie and Davy Sanchis support children with Down syndrome

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facebook.com/BikeupandDown
facebook.com/BikeupandDown

At the Yessenov University, we had the chance to meet Laoren, a 19 year old carrier of Trisomy 21 who loves dancing and to exchange words with her mother Rayhan about inclusion in the country. Here in Kazakhstan, there is no significant national association but UNICEF, some NGOs or private foundations in Almaty or Nur-Sultan, the capital. Parents still hide their children, the acceptance of the handicap remains difficult, and the way is only beginning. A significant number of children with disabilities are still not identified: UNICEF indicates that only 3% of children in Kazakhstan are registered as having disabilities and special needs. This is significantly lower than in other countries around the world, where the rate is 10-15%. This is due to many social barriers such as discrimination against disabilities and the accompanying barriers to accessing services, social life and sports. Parents are often reluctant to report a disability (children or adults are mistreated in some centers), as the family may face social stigma and isolation. 

BikeupandDown
Presentation of the project at Yessenov University (Source:facebook.com/BikeupandDown)
Presentation of the project at Yessenov University (Source:facebook.com/BikeupandDown)

Thanks to an extreme motivation and to the complicity of Laurine and Maël, 2 other cyclists, we were able to cross these desert steppes in 5 days.
Physical or mental test? both. We did not come out of it unscathed. Our heads were empty, our tendons were raw.

Alternating 4 nights of bivouac and big stages by bike, we even came to think that the solution was maybe to ride at night.

We held on, and our train of four cars exceeded 150 kilometers, all this with occasional water supplies every 100 kilometers and food every 250 kilometers.

facebook.com/BikeupandDown
facebook.com/BikeupandDown
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