International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020
We are all aware that 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone across the globe due to the pandemic situation. People living with disabilities have had their lives impacted massively, with increased isolation, reduced services, and disrupted routines.
It is estimated that over 1 billion people (around 15% of the world’s population) live with some form of disability. As a result of the global situation, it is more important than ever that people with visible and hidden disabilities are fully supported and that their wellbeing can improve.
What is International Day of Persons with Disabilities?
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) was started by the United Nations in 1992. This day of awareness occurs every year on the 3rd December and its main aim is to promote the rights and well-being of people living with disabilities across the globe. With this, they seek to raise awareness of disabilities within social and political spheres, as well as cultural and economic life.
What is the theme of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2020?
The focus of this year’s IDPD is Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World. People with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
During the earlier months of 2020, many people with disabilities had to shield, which was an isolating and lonely time. Throughout the year, many essential services were severely disrupted as the healthcare system focused its attention on the pandemic.
After such a difficult year, it is fitting that UNESCO has focused on this for IDPD. With so many people with disabilities feeling the impact of COVID-19, it is so important that we build an inclusive, accessible and sustainable world together.
Why do we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities?
The IDPD celebrates the achievements of people with disabilities, while also serving as a reminder that we still have a long way to go in promoting the rights and well-being of people living with disabilities.
Although there are around 14.4 million people in the UK living with a disability, there are still many stigmas associated with disabilities. For example, “1 in 3 disabled people feel there is still a lot of disability prejudice in Britain today”, according to the charity Scope.
While the employment rate for disabled people has improved over the last decade, there is still a large disparity. The employment rate for disabled people aged 16-64 was 53.2% in 2019, compared to 81.8% for non-disabled people.
Having an awareness day like IDPD reminds us that there is still massive inequality and prompts us to help raise awareness and support people with disabilities in any way we can.
How can you support people with disabilities?
On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, why not try doing something to support disabled people. There are some fantastic charities in the UK that advocate for support, well-being, and rights for all disabled people. Charities like Scope and Disability Rights UK do important work campaigning for people with disabilities.
Another way to advocate for the rights of disabled people is to write to your local MP. Doing this can hold the government to account and ensures they are giving essential support to the people in your community that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
It’s also crucial that we listen to the experiences of disabled people and pay attention to what they say they need to improve their welfare.