International Day of Disabled Persons: Fostering a Better Community for All

18 December 2023

international day of disabled persons

The global community has been celebrating the International Day of Disabled Persons since 1992 when it was formalized by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3

Celebrated every December 3, it serves as a poignant reminder that we need to promote the rights and welfare of individuals with disabilities to ensure that they can live with dignity and have access to the support they need.

It also aims to raise awareness through medical education about various disabilities. This helps disabled persons become active members of their communities—politically, socially, economically, and culturally.

Let’s explore what the International Day of Disabled Persons entails, its importance, and how it addresses the challenges of persons with disabilities. 

Why Do We Need an Annual Day for Disabled Persons?

A designated International Day of Disabled Persons is crucial for several reasons. Around 1.3 billion people across the world, or 16% of the global population, experience a significant disability in some way. 

This day provides a platform to challenge stereotypes and dispel myths that contribute to prejudices against disabled people. It also highlights the achievements and contributions of people with disabilities while encouraging open conversations to shed light on the barriers they face. This encourages a better sense of empathy which can promote a more inclusive society.

From ensuring better opportunities and accessibility to altering communication so it is more respectful and sensitive, the International Day of Disabled Persons helps build a more accessible and supportive environment.

Finally, this special day reminds us about the mental health issues that people with disabilities must contend with. It can shed light on mental disorders and disabilities such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. 

What Is the Theme for the International Day of Disabled Persons 2023?

The theme for the International Day of Disabled Persons in 2023 is “United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with, and by persons with disabilities.”

SDG refers to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations which include numerous targets for 2030 that address environmental degradation, inequality, climate change, poverty, peace and justice, and other pressing societal issues.

Because of the SDGs, world leaders are made aware and encouraged to commit to policies and actions that can help improve the lives of vulnerable and minority groups, including individuals with disabilities. These agendas help ensure shared prosperity and sustainable development for all segments of the global population.

How To Increase Inclusivity and Integration for Disabled People

Achieving greater inclusion for people with disabilities requires a multifaceted approach. The goal is to increase awareness, enhance accessibility, and put provisions in place that safeguard their interests while protecting them from discrimination.

Some ways to encourage the overall welfare of disabled individuals include:

Inclusive Education

This means advocating for inclusive curricula that cater to diverse learning needs. It also entails training educators with effective strategies for teaching students with disabilities.

It is also important to foster a respectful and supportive environment. Students who aren’t disabled must be educated on the importance of empathy and inclusivity in the classroom.

Accessible Infrastructure

Accessible infrastructure requires designing and implementing accessible infrastructure in public and private spaces such as transportation systems. It also ensures that buildings adhere to certain accessibility standards such as using braille, building ramps, and more.

Employment Opportunities

Businesses must be encouraged to adopt inclusive hiring practices while providing training and resources so employers can accommodate people with different abilities. 

Mentorship programs must also be established so they can provide adequate support to individuals with disabilities.

Advocating for Policy Protections

Non-disabled individuals must advocate for better public policies to protect disabled individuals from discrimination and abuse. They are also encouraged to support measures that provide safe spaces to those who require it.

Social Awareness Campaigns

Educational campaigns should be developed to challenge stereotypes while promoting positive narratives and accurate representations in media. Social awareness also entails the portrayal of the lives and achievements of people with disabilities. 

What Role Do Medical Associations Play in Improving Inclusivity?

Medical associations such as the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) play a critical role in advancing the welfare of people with disabilities. They can:

Advocate for Inclusive Healthcare

Medical professionals can undergo training so they know how to provide inclusive healthcare while ensuring that their practice is informed on various disabilities. This will help them deliver adequate and holistic treatments.

Meanwhile, the healthcare sector can advocate for accessible facilities and equipment. They can also focus on medical advancements that cater to individuals with disabilities.

Collaboration and Research

Collaboration between medical professionals and disability advocacy groups can facilitate better research on disabilities. Similarly, resources can be allocated to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Medical knowledge and best practices can also be shared globally to enhance outcomes through medical associations. 

Encourage Education

Medical associations can provide well-researched, evidence-based educational resources about disabilities, which can be extremely helpful in understanding primary disabilities as well as their comorbidities and requirements.

This can promote an even deeper understanding of the physical, developmental, and neurological effects of different disabilities which is crucial for improving inclusivity and accessibility.

Final Thoughts

The International Day of Disabled Persons is a powerful catalyst for positive change. It cultivates greater understanding and a more inclusive world. It also helps shed light on the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, and how they can be addressed with a collaborative, multifaceted approach.

Learn more about disabilities to improve accessibility and inclusivity by exploring IMANA’s educational resources.