The Northern Advocate
‘We are here, we are in this community and we are proud disabled people’
Thirty years on, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is serving i ts purpose of empowering disabled people and letting the community know how much value they bring, a Whangārei disability advocate says.
Yesterday was the 30th International Day of Persons with Disabilities and was celebrated in Whangārei with a large gathering at the Town Basin.
Jonny Wilkinson, from Taiho Trust disability support group, said the theme this year is “transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world”.
“They often have very lofty, aspirational themes and we hold it every year to celebrate our disabled community and raise the profile of the disabled community, and what it adds to the whole community,” Wilkinson said.
“But it’s also about encouraging disability pride. It’s saying we are here, we are in this community and we are proud disabled people. It’s about empowering the disabled community. And while it’s only one day a year, it has achieved those aims.”
And it’s about having a bit of fun and making people feel good about themselves. And judging by the smiles on the faces of those who attended Friday’s event, those aspects were well and truly ticked off too.
The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner says health and disability services must be responsive to the needs and aspirations of disabled people and tāngata whaikaha.
Rose Wall’s call comes as the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is marked on December 3.
One in four New Zealanders report having some type of disability, and about 60 per cent of people with disabilities have more than one.
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled
Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.