International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Dec 3 is set aside yearly to remember our family and friends living with disabilities. Joanna Lee looks at why we commemorate IDPD.

Ever since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated yearly in the last month of the year as a day to enhance our understanding of people living with disabilities and raise awareness to mobilise support for the “dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities”.

The United Nations has defined disability as “a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual of their group. The term is often used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and various types of chronic disease.”

What matters most is the fact that if barriers faced by people with disabilities aren’t removed, it becomes a detriment to society as a whole as it would ultimately hinder development for all. When one member of a body isn’t well, the whole body will not be well.

This year’s IDPD is themed “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. The theme focuses on creating conditions conducive for the changes envisioned in the 2030 development agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 2030 Agenda, pledging to “leave no one behind”, is based on concerns for the resilience of those in situations of disability to reduce their exposure and vulnerability to economic, social and environmental shocks as well as disasters. It also focuses on the affordability of technology and the accessibility to technology for people with disabilities in order to ensure their progress in tandem with technological advances.

Here are some numbers that might open your eyes to their situation.

One in seven people today have some form of disability. That’s over one billion people globally!

Over 100 million disabled persons are children.

50% of disables persons cannot afford healthcare.

80% of all people with disabilities live in a developing country.

Children with disabilities are nearly four times as likely to experience violence compared to children who are not disabled.

Adults with mental health conditions are at nearly four times the risk of experiencing violence.

There are 531,926 Malaysians with disabilities registered with the Malaysian Department of Social Welfare (2014)

According to the Department of Statistics, 35% of Malaysians with disabilities suffer from learning disabilities, the largest category of disability registered. This was followed by 34% suffering from physical forms of disabilities.

The number of Malaysian males (aged below five to 18) having learning disabilities is 3,873 compared to 2,395 girls in 2014.

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