Thursday, 3 December 2015


“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” - Stephen Hawking

The third of December is International Day of People with Disability, a United Nations sanctioned day that celebrates progress in breaking down barriers, opening doors, and realising an inclusive society for all. Disability organisations, businesses, governments and the community come together at events across the country to mark the occasion and celebrate the achievements of people with disability.

Each year the UN announces a theme. The theme for 2015 is: Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities. There are also three sub-themes this year:
Making cities inclusive and accessible for all;
Improving disability data and statistics;
Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development.

The annual theme provides a frame for considering how people with disability are excluded from society by promoting the removal of all types of barriers; including those relating to the physical environment, information and communications technology (ICT), or attitudinal barriers. This has been occurring since 1992 when the General Assembly proclaimed December 3rd as the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Today, the world population is over 7 billion people. More than one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world's population, live with some form of disability. 80 per cent live in developing countries. Factors which place people with disabilities at higher risk of violence include stigma, discrimination, and ignorance about disability, as well as a lack of social support for those who care for them.

Additionally, the disabled face many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society. As a result, people with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation. The right to participate in public life is essential to create stable democracies, active citizenship and reduce inequalities in society. By promoting empowerment, real opportunities for people are created. This enhances their own capacities and supports them in setting their own priorities.

Empowerment involves investing in people - in jobs, health, nutrition, education, and social protection. When people are empowered they are better prepared to take advantage of opportunities, they become agents of change and can more readily embrace their civic responsibilities.


  1. I saw recently the movie based on Stephen Hawking's life....very interesting, would recommend it. I agree that society must be inclusive and care for the disabled in all the ways you suggested. It is the masure of a culture in how they treat the most vulnerable members of the societal group including animals.

    Sadly I have lived in places where the disabled are just discarded and treated like dogs while the rich live in palaces like sultans. Thank you for bringing International Day of People With Disability to our attention. If only there was more compassion in this world. If however you do not have compassionate role models in your personal development and it is culturally foreign, it is unlikely that you would know what compassion was .

  2. Only 15%? It seems that everyone suffers from some sort of problem, depending on whether the problem is visible or not, and whether the problem interferes with employment etc or not. Just amongst my colleagues at work, people admitted to painful rheumatoid arthritis, constant incontinence, bowel cancer, increasing deafness and cataracts.

    I am not suggesting that all handicaps are the same. Just that handicappedness is a continuum and everyone is vulnerable.