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What is International Day of People with Disability?

Since 1992, International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) has been observed annually on December 3rd. It is a United Nations sanctioned day, which focuses on breaking down barriers for disabled persons around the world. The most vulnerable, and in need of support, are those who live in developing communities overseas.

This year the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)has introduced a week-long programme from November 25 to December 3, to enhance the commemoration. The objective? Building a “Sustainable post-COVID-19 world by and for persons with disabilities”. As December 3rd nears, we’d like to explain why we believe IDPwD should be marked on every calendar, and how you can get involved.

Why was International Day of People with Disability established?

In the 1990s the United Nations recognised that people living with disability face barriers of a structural, social and cultural nature, all around the world. The occasion is intended to encourage advocacy on behalf of disabled persons, and draw attention to priorities related to their inclusion, support, care and wellbeing. 

IDPD also celebrates the achievements and contributions of people living with disabilities, reinforcing the value and meaning they bring to the global community. 

What does IDPD mean today?

Today, IDPD is part of a growing conversation about empowerment and inclusion. Each year the UN announces a theme, which provides focus for the efforts of organisations and individuals over the succeeding year to create a more inclusive environment, working towards unconditional acceptance.

What is the IDPD theme for 2021?

The theme for International Day of People with Disability 2021 is: Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era. This year, we come together to recognise the barriers, challenges and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in the context of a COVID-19 global pandemic.

The International Day of People with Disabilities should be utilised this year to recognise that people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable populations in the COVID pandemic. Reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation services, more pronounced social isolation, poorly tailored public health messaging, inadequately constructed mental health services, and a lack of emergency preparedness for people with special needs have all increased the risk of poor outcomes.

Why advocate on behalf of and support children with disabilities this IDPD?

The cycle of social isolation begins in childhood, with many children living with disability facing exclusion. 

By supporting children with disabilities, we can create a climate of acceptance, empowerment and opportunity from childhood, which will produce resilient adults. In the right environment, living with disability should not prevent a child from participating in play, school and other facets of childhood like their peers. We just need to provide every child with the same opportunities. 

Effective disability advocacy promotes, protects, and supports the full and equal human rights of a person or group.

Advocates help people with disabilities speak up and protect their rights and interests by supporting or working on their behalf.

Advocacy can be divided into six categories:

  • Self advocacy
  • Family advocacy
  • Citizen advocacy
  • Individual advocacy
  • Legal advocacy
  • Systemic advocacy.

How can you get involved with IDPD?

Want to support children with disabilities this IDPD? There’s a number of ways you can get involved:

  • Fundraise for charity: Host a charity fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an organisation that supports children living with disability.
  • Reach out: Know someone living with disability? Reach out and see how they’re going, or perhaps arrange to spend some time with them. 
  • Be inclusive: Think about how you can be more inclusive in your school, organisation or in the wider community.
  • Make a donation: Want to support the cause without the hassle of a fundraiser? Simply make a donation online or over the phone and help children globally who are excluded because of their disability.

Join forces with the UN this IDPD

When you take action in support of children living with disability this IDPD, you are joining forces with the United Nations in a global effort to promote acceptance and inclusion. No supportive act is too small, or without impact. What’s most important is that we recognise where we can be of help, and get out there to make a difference.

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