International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is one of the most important days on the global disability calendar.
Held annually on December 3, the day is observed internationally and aims to promote community awareness, understanding and acceptance of people living with disability.
In Australia, IDPwD is viewed as an opportunity to be part of creating an inclusive and diverse community for the 4.4 million Australians with disability, one in 10 of whom have experienced discrimination.
The Australian Government through the Department of Social Services funds a national program to help promote and raise awareness of this day.
The program aligns with Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-31 and includes improving community awareness by recognising the lived experience of people with disability and building confidence in the community to work and engage with people with disability.
It includes a range of resources to help governments at all levels, private organisations, workplaces, schools, community groups and individuals to recognise the day, sponsorships of national awards, events or activities that showcase the work and experiences of people with disability and help promote inclusion across Australia.
Each year the organisers of the Australian celebrations name a host of local ambassadors with an authentic experience of disability. Their job is to help spread the word about why it’s important to break down barriers and promote disability inclusion.
Representatives for this year’s event included actor Michael Theo, athlete Hugo Taheny, advocate and writer Hannah Diviney, motivational speaker Gretta Serov, producer Grace Edward, lawyer Giancarlo de Vera, scholar Dr Scott Avery, and filmmaking twins Charlie and Lewis Smith.
Founded by the United Nations (UN), each year the UN comes up with an annual theme that provides a central international focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disability.
The theme for this year’s event was ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for, with and by persons with disabilities’ and asks everyone to work together to make the world better and fairer for people with disability.
The theme talks about the Sustainable Development Goals, namely 17 things countries want to work on by the year 2030 to make the world equal for everyone.
These goals include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality and clean water and sanitisation.