International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December (IDPwD) 

By Abeer Essa (CENMAC Advisory Speech and Language Therapist) 

Today marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPwD); a day which promotes equality for people with disabilities across the world at all societal and developmental levels. 

This day was first declared by the United Nations in 1992 to raise awareness, increase understanding, and protect the wellbeing of people with disabilities; whether visible or invisible. It also draws attention to the benefits that including people with disabilities provide to society in every aspect of economic, political, social, and cultural life. Well known organisations also support this day and hold big events, such as: World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNESCO. 

People with disabilities are the world’s largest minority; an estimated 1 billion individuals live with disabilities across the world, which is 15% of the world’s population (WHO, 2020). This continues to increase as populations expand, medical involvement develops, and more people live to a greater age.  

“As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must ensure that the aspirations and rights of persons with disabilities are included and accounted for in an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world. This vision will only be achieved through active consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.” –António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (United Nations, 2021) 

People with disabilities continue to be amongst the “hardest hit” by COVID-19 (United Nations, 2021). This was observed throughout the pandemic across the world as this crisis deepened the pre-existing inequalities and exclusion of people with disabilities whether at home, school, or in the workplace. Therefore, it is crucial to highlight creating a more inclusive society. While last year’s IDPwD focused on “Building back better: towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities”, this year’s theme is: “Not all disabilities are visible”- aiming not to only continue raising awareness regarding the effects of the pandemic on people with disabilities and their mental health, but also to highlight invisible disabilities such as learning difficulties, mental illness, hearing or sight impairment, etc. 

There are some websites that can be useful when talking to students in primary and secondary schools about the IDPwD, such as twinkl: and the United Nations Association-UK (UNA-UK): 

As part of this year’s effort, we encourage you to participate in local events and activities, then spread awareness through social media. You can share stories online using #IDPwD hashtag and/or by sharing the website   

symbols of different people, text reads 'some disabilities look like this and some like this'

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