International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated every year on the 3rd of December. The annual observance of this day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1992.
Aims and objectives
This day aims to encourage support for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. It promotes an understanding of disability issues and their well-being. The observance aims to spread awareness of gains that can be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of cultural, political, social, and economic life.
The theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities for 2019:
‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’. The present theme focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as contemplated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ and recognizes disability as a cross-cutting issue which is to be considered in the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
What is a disability?
It is a condition or function which is judged to be significantly impaired as compared to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term ‘Disability’ is often used to refer to individual functioning, including physical, cognitive, sensory, and cognitive impairment and various types of other illnesses.
Issues faced by persons with disabilities
They are the world’s largest minority. They often have
- poorer health,
- lower educational achievements,
- fewer economic opportunities and
- higher poverty rates than people without disabilities.
- lack of services (like information and communications technology (ICT), justice or transportation)
Many factors place people with disabilities at a higher risk of violence. These include:
- ignorance about disability
- lack of social support for their care-takers
Inclusive society and development
Evidence and experience show that the removal of barriers to their inclusion leads to the empowerment of people with disabilities to participate fully in societal life. Hence, their entire community benefits. Such barriers are a detriment to society as a whole, and their removal is necessary to achieve progress and development for all.
Guidelines on helping people with disabilities
- Always ask before you help: Do not assume that the person will be dependent on you. So, you need to ask before offering help. Some of the people welcome help while others may want to be independent. This requires regular practice.
- Never assume someone else’s disability: You should treat everyone equally. So think before assuming that the person has a disability. Because they might think, act or feel differently than you.
- Do not stare: People with disabilities also have a life of their own so you should not stare at them at a public place. You are allowed to look but simply view them the way you view others.
- Respect and understand confidentiality: Respect their right to privacy. They do not have an obligation to tell you about their disability. Always ask for permission before you discuss the disability.
Over to you
On this day, make yourself a promise to treat persons with disabilities as normal individuals and help their community to live stress-free.