The United Nations has announced this years theme as Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities. This is certainly an area that we all care about and work for.
Background on International Day of persons with disabilities
he International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been commemorated since 1992 to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development. The Day works to promote action to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.
Source; The United Nations Website
About theme and sub themes
As per the United nations, approximately there are about a billion people living with different disabilities across the world. How many of them are part of mainstream society? Some examples of exclusion:
- Are people with disabilities allowed to study in mainstream schools across the world?
- Do all of our environment such as schools, offices, railway stations, bus stations, airports, universities, entertainment places, restaurants, movie theaters are built in a way that people with disabilities can use?
- Most people think people with hearing impairment may lead an easy life and just that they can’t hear… How many people with hearing impairment are able to get quality basic education? How many of them are making to collage?
- To day everything is going digital and mobile first concept is growing. How many websites and apps are accessible to people with disabilities?
- If there is a person with disability in any conference, why do people look at them as someone special?
- Can people with disabilities shop independently at a grocery store?
Ah… there would be no end to this list. But we should step-up and look into these aspects if we really respect the occasion of marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Just hosting a few events with big speeches doesn’t really makes any difference. An action plan is needed and that too a meaningful one.
- Making cities inclusive and accessible for all
- Improving disability data and statistics
- Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development
I think these are pretty reasonable and essential tasks for any human to lead a life with dignity. To make this occasion a real success, a few things that we can do:
- Identify barriers within and around our house, work place or school and report to concerned authorities. Report in a way that our feedback is constructive, include rational and possible recommendations
- Actively follow up on issues that we have reported
- If you work in digital space, make sure whatever you develop is accessible and meet with accessibility standards.
- Spread the word about inclusion and accessibility
- Educate schools on how they can include people with disabilities
- If you live in India, promote and join hands to make Accessible India Campaign (PDF) a grand success
There are several initiatives happening across the world to make it a better place to live for all and theme set by The United Nations is certainly a good fit. Let’s contribute and make our world accessible.