Started in 1992 by the United Nations, the International Day of Disabled People is observed annually and, alongside the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, seeks to enable disabled people to live independently and with equal access of opportunity to all aspects of life. There are over 1 billion disabled people across the world, that’s 15% of the total population, and the day itself is used to promote disabled people’s rights and raise awareness of what all countries can do to reduce and remove the barriers that prevent disabled people from accessing the same level of freedoms that others enjoy. Each year a new theme is used to highlight key areas for development, and previous themes have included “Nothing About Us Without Us”, “Sustainable development: the promise of technology”, and “E-Accessibility”. For 2017 the theme is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” and the awareness of the gains that society as a whole will achieve through the “integration of disabled people into all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life.” Get involved…
Start by saying ‘you’re in!’ and promote your observance of the day on your social media channels.
Make a pledge to target a key change you want to make, using the theme of transformation, sustainability and resilience, and determine to make it a permanent change, such as “we will always provide alternative formats of our printed materials”, “we will always provide access awareness training for all new staff members”, “we will seek out and celebrate work from disabled groups to be part of our wider arts programming” and so on.
Take an honest look at your employment policies and decide how to make a positive change by employing more disabled people – there have been plenty of recent blogs and articles about this so have a look around for some really useful awareness and practical guides such as the following:
Or this blog post from Scope:
Or you can contact Remploy, who support disabled people into employment, for more information.
Create an access forum for your disabled customers to regularly meet with you to discuss what they’d like to see happen to make your organisation more accessible.
Enjoy being part of a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future, and happy International Day of Disabled Persons!