International Day of People with Disability seeks to break down barriers

LESSONS FOR STUDENTS: Visit idpwd.com.au for inspiration on school activities that will better help students understand the significance of International Day of People with Disability. Photo: Shutterstock
LESSONS FOR STUDENTS: Visit idpwd.com.au for inspiration on school activities that will better help students understand the significance of International Day of People with Disability. Photo: Shutterstock

ABOUT one in six Australians will have something special to celebrate on December 3.

The United Nations has proclaimed the date the International Day of People with Disability.

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Statistics, about four-and-a-half million Australians have disability or one in six of the population.

Under the 1992 Disability Discrimination Act, this includes people with total or partial loss of their bodily or mental functions, total or partial loss of a part of their body or the presence of organisms causing disease or illness.

The federal government has been on board with the annual International Day of People with Disability since 1996, providing funding to organisations and communities wanting to raise awareness of people living with disability.

There are also ambassadors promoting the day. While we await this year's ambassadorial announcement, 2019's ambassador, sportsman Kurt Fearnley, wants to encourage more Australians to take part in the event.

"People with disability are entitled to the same respect, independence and choice as others," Fearnley says.

"We need to talk honestly about the barriers in society that prevent this and work together to break them down."

The theme of this year's international day is "Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world".

Schoolchildren are encouraged to enter the Grow Inclusion schools competition, where schools can win $4000 of learning resources, equipment or software of their choice. Visit idpwd.com.au/growinclusion for more information.

Local communities are also encouraged to participate in the annual day by holding activities, such as a sausage sizzle, morning or afternoon tea, sporting game or concert.

Workers unite to mark day

ORGANISATIONS can show their commitment to the International Day of People with Disability by planning and acting.

Encourage workers with disability to "have their say" on December 3.

Discuss issues of access and equity in the workplace.

Consider creating a disability action inclusion plan that could include policies and initiatives to assist disabled staff in their day-to-day duties.

Think about a lunch where employees with disability can share their experiences.

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