Each year on December 3, the International Day of People with Disabilities promotes the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The day raises awareness of the political, economic, social and cultural aspects disability affects people around the world. More than one billion people in the world have a disability. At 15 percent of the world’s population, persons with disabilities account for the world’s largest minority.
“Transformative solutions for inclusive development: The role of Innovation in fueling an accessible and fair world” is the theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2022. The theme tends to find solutions by modifying the already available resources and searching for equal opportunities for these differently-abled persons to pave the way for their effective inclusion in the progressing societies. It enlightens the valuable stature of innovation and describes the pivotal role modernity can play, in achieving an unbiased living environment for disabled persons. This idea discusses the innovation for disability-inclusive development, like sports, a site of equity, innovation, and employment. It aims to identify the linkages between knowledge and skills required to access innovative and assistive technology work. This theme also explains the creation and good practical tools to reduce inequality for disabled people in all sectors.
In 2006, the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD declared accessibility and inclusion as fundamental rights for persons of disabilities. It aims at working towards creating equal opportunities for persons with disabilities through the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Disability gives birth to dependency but not to the evolution of creative ideas. It is the utmost duty of society to permit disabled people to experience the life they deserve and share their creative ideas and life experience. Overcoming challenges and developing confidence are admirable and vital.
Some persons with disabilities live with multiple impairments. No matter what kind or how many impairments, the impact of disability on one’s life is profound. Disability often leads to poorer health. Additionally, a person with a disability may attain lower educational achievements. As a result, disability may lead to fewer economic opportunities. Those with disabilities also have higher rates of poverty. Many countries and cultures shun persons with disabilities causing them to live in isolation.
For many years, discrimination, lack of access to services, lack of social support, and ignorance about disability have been some of the main challenges persons with disabilities face. Even in today’s age of inclusivity, these challenges continue. Many organizations observe the day with fundraisers and inclusive competitions. Some organizations host awards ceremonies recognizing the achievements of persons with disabilities. Guest speakers discuss disability issues or share inspirational stories. The United Nations declared the year 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP). This plan of action emphasized equal opportunities, rehabilitation, and prevention of disabilities. A significant outcome of the IYDP was the World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons. The UN adopted the programme in 1982. Additionally, the UN declared the years 1983 through 1993 the International Decade of Disabled Persons. In 1992, one year before the close of that decade, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Many hurdles in a workplace can prevent disabled workers from performing at their best, from braille signage to accessible toilets and wheelchair ramps to screen readers. It is essential to consider how our work can affect disabled persons. Try to create an accessible environment on this day for all team members. For instance, for noise sensitivity, people try to arrange quiet rooms. Digital accessibility tools may improve the performance of disabled persons. Minimizing the world’s unequal approach towards disability is an awaiting process so, it pledges to celebrate the value of accessibility and diversity for serving disabled persons. Learn from the experts and try to implement the possible changes in the workplace which will directly benefit disabled staff. If possible and easily affordable, try donating to disability charitable foundations.
A huge shout out to all the wonderful schools and students who celebrated International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) 2021 by holding events, completing activities in the classroom and entering the Grow Inclusion Schools Competition. Each year, the competition is an opportunity for schools to start a conversation about disability and encourage respectful and inclusive attitudes and behaviours from a young age. In 2021, the theme ‘Grow Inclusion’ was used as a way to symbolise attitudinal growth and encourage inclusion to flourish. Teachers and students were asked to submit a video or written entry to show what IDPwD means to them and how they grow inclusion in their schools and communities. There was also an individual category for students to enter a drawing or artwork for IDPwD with the Grow Inclusion theme.
Annually WHO decides on a theme and develops evidence-based advocacy materials such as brochures, flyers, posters, banners, infographics, and presentations, among others. These materials are shared with partners in government and civil society around the world as well as WHO regional and country offices. At its headquarters in Geneva, WHO organizes an annual IDPD event to educate the public, raise awareness, advocate for political will and resources, and celebrate WHO’s achievements. In 2020, the UN’s theme was “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”. WHO supported this theme by underlining the importance of fostering an inclusive culture and responding to the urgent needs of people with disability in all aspects of society, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Disability gives birth to dependency but not to the evolution of creative ideas. It is the utmost duty of society to permit disabled people to experience the life they deserve and share their creative ideas and life experience. Overcoming challenges and developing confidence are admirable and vital. One way of encouragement is hiring them as employees and giving them a chance to be independent both financially and in opinion-presenting. This day teaches people how to treat disabled persons because negative behavior towards disability is the common barrier while obtaining their participation in experience sharing. Lousy attitudes discourage the talent and ability of these people that remain efficacious in the overall efficiency of an organization. Titling them as “differently abled” instead of “disabled” mitigates the sense of prejudice, and stereotyping and encourages society to maintain an inclusive approach towards these special people.
Disability is a global phenomenon that affects about 15% population of the world hence every 15 in 100 individuals cannot be marginalized without assessing their productivity and valuable existence in the world. This (IDPD) day asks us to recognize, encourage and celebrate the equal rights of people with disabilities in the quest for their societal inclusion. Sustainable societies continue to progress and keep on changing for betterment. The day emphasizes that public welfare objectives must include the disabled in their journey towards development and this equality and change must go together.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 is a day to help everyone become more compassionate and understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities. The day doesn’t discriminate between mental and physical disabilities, and the spirit of the day is to ensure that all people in the world have equal opportunities for work, play, health, and success. People with disabilities can be and very often are contributing and valued members of society, and today is all about appreciating them. International Day of Disabled Persons recognises visible and invisible disabilities, to promote the importance of inclusion in life and the workplace. An annual event, World Disability Day is hosted by the United Nations and encourages business leaders across the globe to value the unique contributions of disabled people.
(The author is a regular columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org