International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being. The day also seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of the integration of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
IDPwD brings together individuals, businesses, community organisations, and governments from every corner of the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions, skills and achievements of people with disability.
In 1992, at the conclusion of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992), the General Assembly proclaimed 3 December as the International Day of Disabled Persons. (From the IDPwD website)
While we have come a long way in the developed world with disability policy and support, so much more can be done. Increases to funding, improvements to accessibility and changing of attitudes are continuously needed.
I have not identified with having a disability (or chronic illness as I view it) until recent times. The social and medical challenges I've faced with ichthyosis are the same sorts of barriers as my friends with much different disabilities face. I guess my ichthyosis has always been a part of my routine, but I didn't define it until recently. I realised that it can be a barrier to some aspects of life, and also a competitive advantage. Without it, I may not be able to do all the exciting things I've been doing - writing, TV presenting, getting noticed at concerts...
And I'm so glad to be involved in the disability community. I've made some great friends.
For me, International Day of People with Disability is not so much about making people with disabilities aware of the day, but educating and including the people without disabilities.
For three years, I've been coordinating International Day of People with Disability events at work. I have given several speeches, and invited members of the disability community (young people from the ChIPS program) to speak about their experiences. This event is the one I love to run the most. I love giving our guest speakers the chance to tell their stories - for too often, people with disabilities don't get the chance to be heard. And I also love the way the audience - my colleagues, most of which don't have a disability - engage with our guest speakers. The talk in the office after the event is about how the guest speakers inspired them - changed their perceptions and taught them about different ways of living and positive outlooks, despite their challenges.
And I think this is one of the most important issues around disability - challenging the way people without a disability think about disability.
Aside from holding an event at work, I'll be celebrating International Day of People with Disability by attending an official State Government event in the day and at night, celebrating my 30th birthday with family and friends. The doctors didn't think I would survive much past birth, and look where I am now. That's a pretty cool way to spend International Day of People with Disability!
If you want to get involved in a small blog carnival I'm running, write a blog post about what International Day of People with Disability means for you, and post your link below.
Facebook event here.
Pin, Pose, Post & Ribbons
You can also take part in a community effort to show support for this years IDPwD.
As part of celebrations for 2011 a colourful ribbon pack has been developed by Nican in partnership with the Australian Government. We hope this ribbon will develop as a recognised way for people across the country to signal their support for the day.
People across Australia can signal their support for International Day of People with Disability by wearing a ribbon in the lead-up to 3 December or on the Day.
You can also take part in a community awareness effort in the lead up to IDPwD called Pin, Pose, Post for IDPwD. This will involve a range of Australians, including Disability Community Leaders and prominent people from all walks of life, donning a ribbon in advance of the Day, capturing an image and providing a single sentence beginning with “I support IDPwD because”. This might indicate why you support IDPwD and its message of breaking down the barriers as well as supporting access and inclusion.
If you choose this option, your Pin, Pose, Post for IDPwD will be shared on a Gallery of Supporters via the IDPwD website and Social Media to represent a wave of enthusiasm leading up to the Day across Australia.
To take part please email firstname.lastname@example.org