Removing Barriers

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. So what’s it all about? We find out more…

Every year on 3 December, people all over the world come together to celebrate International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Launched by the United Nations in 1992, IDPD is all about promoting a better understanding of disability across the globe – after all, disability affects 15% of the world’s population, a staggering one billion people. And yet, this ‘minority’ still face many difficulties worldwide.

Every year, IDPD has a different theme, ranging from the arts IT to employment. This year’s theme is “removing barriers to create an inclusive society for all”. Barriers preventing people from participating fully in society come in all forms, from physical access barriers to negative attitudes, so there’s plenty to think about this year.


The main aim of IDPD is to make sure that disabled people have their voices heard. One way in which you can do this is by taking part in events and activities in your area. There will be things going on across the globe to celebrate. In Australia, there’s the IDPD Breakfast in Perth, the rock and roll dinner dance in Mudgee, New South Wales, barbeques  concerts and more! In France, the quai Branly museum in Paris will be hosting a week of accessible events, while the UN headquarters in New York will be playing host to the annual Enable film festival.

In the North of England, Disability North will be celebrating things slightly later on 18 December, with an afternoon of workshops and presentations to highlight the work that’s going on in the area for disabled people. They’ll also be announcing the winner of their IDPD short film competition – you’ve got until 23 November to get your entry in! Find out more at

And this is just a taster of what’s on offer. Get in touch with local charities, disability organisations and you local authority to see what’s going on near you today and for the rest of the week.


If there’s nothing that tickles your fancy, what about organising your own events? You could arrange a talk on local transport services. Hold a discussion forum to talk about how attitudes are or aren’t changing after the Paralympics. Hire out a local hall for an information day, letting local organisations come along to tell disabled people in the area the support that’s there for them. Or what about doing something fun like hosting a small fundraiser for a charity working with disabled people? Now’s the time to make your local community sit up and take notice, participate, discuss and debate.

Keep an eye out for what’s on near you so you can get involved. 2012’s IDPD is set to inform, entertain and inspire – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Find out more…

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