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International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3rd December 2023

Posted by Francis Whitehead on December 3, 2023

Text reads International Day of Persons with Disabilities with group of people in the background. The day's official logo is in the top right


Every year on the 3rd of December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Today, the world’s population is an estimated 8 billion people, and more than one billion people (or 15 per cent of the world's population) live with some form of disability. With such a large portion of the world still treated like a minority or an afterthought, this is why it’s important to have a day like today to spread awareness and understanding of the experiences of those living with disabilities and work towards building a more inclusive society.

It is a day for:

  • Celebration – to recognize and value the diversity of our global community, and to cherish the role we all play, regardless of our abilities.
  • Learning – to understand and learn from the experiences of people with living with a disability.
  • Optimism – to look towards the future and the creation of a world where a person is not characterised by their disabilities, but by their abilities.
  • Action – where all people, organisations, agencies and charities not only show their support for International Day for Disabilities, but take on a commitment to create a world characterised by equal human rights.


This Year’s Aims

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been celebrated on the 3rd of December since 1992, first marked a national holiday by the United Nations. It aims to highlight the issues in our society regarding how we approach disability and mobilise support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. The day also aims to rally for a more inclusive society for those with disabilities in all aspects of political, social, economic, and cultural life.

The theme for this year is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world”, which is all about coming up with creative and innovative solutions to make a society with equal opportunities for those with disabilities.

The World Health Organisation is committed to addressing the health inequities faced by people with disabilities through innovative and transformative approaches to health systems strengthening.

Globally, they have decreed all governments and health sector partners need to commit to three principles:

  • Include health equity for persons with disabilities at the centre of health sector actions.
  • Empower and include persons with disabilities in health sector actions.
  • Monitor the impact of health sector actions on persons with disabilities.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO says:

"On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I call on the entire international community to mobilize so that persons with disabilities may actively contribute to the response to the crisis and to the generation of new possibilities."

So, if you’re living with a disability, or know someone who is, today is the perfect day to share your story and your experiences.



Visibility for Disabilities

Illustrations of people with various disabilities


It’s important to note that being disabled isn’t limited to a physical impairment. Disabilities come in many forms, including sensory issues, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, visual and hearing impairment, mental health problems, and various types of disease. Any condition that affects your way to navigate through day-to-day life can be classed as a disability, so it’s important to consider those with hidden disabilities.

Those with hidden disabilities, such as M.E., Autism/ADHD, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and more all face discrimination and a lack of understanding in today’s society, which is why it’s important to be aware and to not be inconsiderate.


Why Change Needs to Happen

Especially in less developed countries, people with disabilities around the world experience health inequities. They experience more limitations and fewer opportunities than the rest of the population which affects their quality of life. These inequities are the result of the unfair conditions they face, including stigma and discrimination, poverty, exclusion from education and employment, and barriers in the health system.

Even in the UK, waiting times and the overexertion of the NHS has led to thousands of people not getting the help they need, with disabled people suffering most.

According to the Global Report on Assistive Technology, 2.5 billion people need at least one assistive product, with the demand is expected to go up to 3.5 billion by 2050. However, nearly 9 out of 10 people who need assistive technology do not have access to it. This has an adverse impact on the education, livelihood, health, and well-being of those with disabilities.


What You Can Do

While you might not be in charge of a health care organisation, there’s lots of ways you can raise funds and spread awareness this International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Their official website has plenty of ideas for fundraising, from raffles, to quiz nights, even an office swear jar!

You can also aim to better the lives of those with disabilities around you, making sure they have all the mobility aids and daily living aids they need, and be an ally to those around you to build towards a more inclusive society.

Be sure to share your stories, experiences, and raise awareness on social media using the hashtag #IDPWD2023.


Get in Touch

How will you be raising funds and awareness for International Day of Persons with Disabilities? Ability Superstore would love to know! If you have any questions or enquiries, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We will be more than happy to help!