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Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

New Zealanders celebrate, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on December 3 around the world. This year more New Zealanders than ever before are joining in the celebrations.

Planned events aim to promote an understanding of disability issues and to mobilise support for the dignity and rights of disabled people. Mel Gamble, Communications Manager for CCS Disability Action, says that their organisation is a strong supporter of the annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities. “We work hard year by year to see our vision, of a New Zealand that fully includes disabled people, becoming a reality.”

Every year the United Nations announces a different theme. In 2017, the theme is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”. This theme is a reflection of positive but gradual changes for disabled New Zealanders in access, employment and education. It is also timely for New Zealand because our government is currently transforming the Disability Support Services (DSS) system.

In New Zealand we’d like to think all our citizens have choice and control over their own lives. We like to pride ourselves on living in a fair society but we know this isn’t always true. Prudence Walker, CCS Disability Action National Coordinator for Disability Leadership, points out that disability issues affect all of us either personally or through family and friends. “We want all New Zealanders to support the dignity, rights and well-being of disabled people. When we include all people in political, social, economic and cultural life, society gains the benefits and New Zealand becomes a fairer place for everyone.”

CCS Disability Action is organising or participating in a variety of IDPD events including barbeques and picnics, accessible sailing, community days and an inclusive concert in Christchurch. These events also coincide with Disability Pride Week starting November 30. Disability Pride Week is an initiative by disabled people in New Zealand. The intent is to bring disabled people together to celebrate their common humanity through a variety of activities, sharing their stories and their creativity.

You can find out more about celebrations in and around December 3 by visiting the CCS Disability Action website or Facebook page, and the Disability Pride Week Aotearoa Facebook page.

For more information about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, go to: https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/international-day-of-persons-with-disabilities-3-december.html

For more information about DSS system transformation, go to: http://www.odi.govt.nz/nz-disability-strategy/other-initiatives/transforming-the-disability-support-system


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