The proclamation of observance of International Day Of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December, annually, was done in 1992, by the UN General Assembly. It was in 1976, that the UN General Assembly proclaimed 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons. It was a plan to emphasize the prevention, rehabilitation, promotion and equalization of opportunities at the regional, national and international levels. The time period between 1983-1992 was declared as the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons. The day aims to promote awareness, encourage knowledge of disability rights and provide moral support so as to raise their self-esteem and prevent social stigma.
Each year there are various events hosted, not only by the UN but also, nationally by different countries, to join in the efforts. Every year UN has a theme while celebrating this day for better implementation of its plan. This year’s theme is “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment of people of all abilities”. The sub-themes include:
- Making cities inclusive and accessible for all.
- Improving disability data and statistics.
- Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development.
So, this year’s major focus is on the inclusion of people with various disabilities, their empowerment and improvement in data and statistics. While these are plans to be implemented on an international level, as an individual what we can do for these special people is to support and encourage them.
LESSONS FROM THEIR EXPERIENCES
For some, being a support can do wonders while for others, you just need to be a good companion. There are people with disabilities who face discrimination till now. Though sometimes, helping them out offering a seat, etc. can be a sweet gesture, but there are times when they don’t need your sympathy. You would think that they have a hard life, the person in the wheelchair must be so depressed, but no. Let me tell you that they are the most cheerful person, you could ever come across. They realize the true meaning of life and it is them who are living life to the fullest. They know that being disabled is being different and it is actually an opportunity. After all, it is your flaw/s which makes you unique and what you achieve in spite of them.
There are so many things we can learn from them. They are either the optimistic lot or the modernist or the one with careless childish attitude. People with disabilities go through so much. From accepting their own condition to blocking out the social stigma to stand up against discrimination. They are their own heroes. Indeed, we can learn a lot from their experiences.
THE NEED TO CELEBRATE THIS DAY
It is in fact very significant to celebrate this day as there is a need to recognize the difficulties and the barriers people with disabilities face in their day-to-day life. Simultaneously, we need to identify and be aware of such disabled people living around us and make sure they get treated equally and justly. Thanks to E-commerce, we have various sites where we can order products and they are delivered at our doorstep. And it is a great relief to finally see equipments like wheelchairs, karma wheelchairs, commode chair, walking sticks, walkers, hearing aids etc. online, on these sites. Not only these equipments are available at cheaper prices but also, they are instantly delivered within some days at your doorstep. Similarly, braille books are extensively available online as well. We don’t realize, but actually, these little things do help and simplify things for them.
All they require is an opportunity to showcase their talents and they can be as able and fitting as any able-bodied person to prove themselves. Why, don’t they already represent our country at international level and make us proud. In events like Paralympics, a multi-sport event conducted along with the Olympics, where people with disabilities are invited. Probably the most wonderful games one can watch, the Paralympics is a showcase of varying athletic talents and skills. Similarly, many more such events are held nationally and internationally. It is during these times when one can reflect and ponder- who is disabled in actuality?