International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Disability inclusion is an essential part in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to WHO, around 1.3 billion people or 16% of the total world’s population experience disability of any kind. There is an increasing trend in these numbers because of the rise of non-communicable diseases and higher life expectancy. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is observed on 3rd December every year to focus attention on the rights and health and wellbeing of persons with disabilities. IDPD is an annual celebration started by the United Nations to speak about the challenges faced by persons with disabilities and to promote equal participation of them in all walks of society. This day underlines the significance of inclusivity, accessibility and equality for persons with disabilities, and celebrate their achievements contributed to society.
This global initiative was first established in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly and since then is celebrated annually to speak up for the basic rights of individuals with disabilities. The theme for IDPD 2023 is ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities.’ The findings from UN Disability and Development Report 2023 report that the world is not meeting several SDGs for persons with disabilities. The efforts to achieve SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities have to be intensified as these people have historically been marginalized and not cared about.
The day also signifies the need for innovation and transformation for inclusivity and accessibility to persons with disability. This includes solutions and tools to reduce inequalities, and make both private and public sector disability inclusive. Below are some simple ways in which we can celebrate IDPD this year:
- Create awareness about disability
- Advocate accessibility for the individuals with disabilities
- Recognise their achievements
- Listen to their life stories
- Work towards building an inclusive environment
The day is a reminder for global citizens to break down barriers, remove stereotypes and build a world where persons with disabilities can fully thrive and be themselves.
The United Nations Disability Inclusion strategy includes more about inclusivity of disabled people around the world. You can read more about it at: https://www.un.org/en/content/disabilitystrategy/
On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I would like to share my story of suffering with Stargardt’s disease and the barriers I face in day to day life. After being diagnosed with this rare disease, I found out about the lack of awareness for the condition even among the medical professionals. As a visually impaired, I had to face various institutional and infrastructural barriers in my country from the moment I stepped out of my house. I have to use my mobile phone’s camera to zoom and read the instructions for the public transport as the ecosystem in my country is not that much disability friendly. Printed books with normal fonts also don’t work for me and I have to use a zooming device or read e books. I suffer with frequent headaches if I go out on a sunny day or study for long hours for an exam. Despite all these hindrances, I tried my best to be consistent performer in both academics and extracurricular activities. I have faced all the stumbling blocks with sheer dedication and positive spirit.