World Disability Day occurs every December 3 worldwide. The celebration is formally known as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, or simply Disability Day.
The United Nations created the observance in 1992 to promote further compassion and understanding of people with disabilities of all types.
According to the UN website, the holiday “…aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.”
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about World Disability Day.
When is World Disability Day?
World Disability Day (International Day of Persons with Disabilities) is celebrated on December 3 each year.
Why is this holiday celebrated?
The United Nation’s goals for World Disability Day are:
- Celebrate the diversity of the global community, regardless of ability.
- Gain greater knowledge from the experiences of those living with disabilities.
- Provide an optimistic outlook, helping to create a world where disability does not define the individual, but by their abilities.
- Create a world characterized by equal human rights.
Additionally, the IDPWD website states: “We strive to provide front-line services and support for people with disabilities all over the world. International Day of People With Disabilities is more than just an annual day, but a movement used to break down barriers to inclusion and advocate for the rights of people with disability.”
How do I celebrate World Disability Day?
There are many ways to take part in World Disability Day. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Educate – Increase awareness in your community about common barriers to inclusion. Use the hashtags listed below in your social media posts.
- Volunteer – Give your time to organizations that support education, training, and employment for people with disabilities.
- Support – Help out someone you know with a disability with their living situation.
- Donate – Support advocacy organizations and workers assisting persons with disabilities with daily life. Go to idpwd.org and make a donation.
December 6 – St. Nicholas Day is just a couple days away.
World Disability Day FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the holiday.
What did World Disability Day use to be called?
The celebration was originally named International Day of Disabled Persons until 2007.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
In 2020, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) marked its 30th anniversary. The civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on disability was passed on July 26, 1990.
What is World Disability Day’s 2020 theme?
Each year the UN announces a theme for the World Disability Day celebration. The theme focuses on different aspects of living with disabilities.
For 2020, the celebration’s theme is, “Not all disabilities are visible.”
This theme was chosen to spread awareness and understanding of disabilities that aren’t always immediately apparent in individuals, such as:
- Mental illness
- Chronic pain/fatigue
- Sight impairment
- Hearing loss
- Brain injury
- Neurological disorders
- Learning differences
- Cognitive dysfunction
How to treat people with disabilities video
What are the World Disability Day websites?
International Day of People with Disabilities: idpwd.org
United Nations: un.org
What are World Disability Day hashtags I can use?
What is the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy?
The UN website describes the organization’s goal as follows: “The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars of the work of the United Nations.
Through the Strategy, the United Nations system reaffirms that the full and complete realization of the human rights of all persons with disabilities is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
What are some related holidays to World Disability Day?
- World Braille Day – January 4
- World Down Syndrome Day – March 21
- Autism Day – April 2
- International Day of Sign Languages – September 23
- Human Rights Day – December 10
How many people live with a disability?
A WHO World Report on Disability states that approximately 15% of the world’s population—over 1 billion people—live with a disability.
- When we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we move closer to achieving the central promise of the 2030 Agenda – to leave no one behind.
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
- World Disability Day is our Diwali, Christmas, Id & Holi – all combined into one!
- I do not have a disability. I have a gift! Others may see it as a disability, but I see it as a challenge. This challenge is a gift because I have to become stronger to get around it and smarter to figure out how to use it; others should be so lucky.
Shane E. Bryan
- Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.
- I don’t have a dis-ability; I have a different-ability.
Robert M. Hensel
Notable disabled quotes
- When you hear the word ‘disabled,’ people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter.
- For me, disability is a way of getting some extremity, some kind of very difficult situation, that throws an interesting light on people.
- I’m officially disabled, but I’m truly enabled because of my lack of limbs. My unique challenges have opened up unique opportunities to reach so many in need.
- I choose not to place “DIS” in my ability.
Robert M. Hensel
- When you focus on someone’s disability, you’ll overlook their abilities, beauty, and uniqueness. Once you learn to accept and love them for who they are, you subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally.
- My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.
- Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.
Famous disability sayings
- It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life, and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.
- Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.
- Try not to associate bodily defect with mental, my good friend, except for a solid reason.
- Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up, I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today, I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.
- I have a disability, yes that’s true, but all that really means is I may have to take a slightly different path than you.
Robert M. Hensel
- If we are to achieve a richer culture, we must weave one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.
- Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone.
Living with disabilities quotes
Life is all about balance. Since I have only one leg, I understand that well.
It has been said that life has treated me harshly, and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me… if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me.
I was slightly brain damaged at birth, and I want people like me to see that they shouldn’t let a disability get in the way. I want to raise awareness – I want to turn my disability into ability.
….What I learned was that these athletes were not disabled; they were superabled. The Olympics is where heroes are made. The Paralympics is where heroes come.
I have had this desire my whole life to prove people wrong, to show them I could do things they didn’t think I could do.
David A. Paterson
Know me for my abilities, not my disability.
Robert M. Hensel
Abled does not mean enabled. Disabled does not mean less abled.
Khang Kijarro Nguyen
Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life.
My disability has opened my eyes to see my true abilities.
Robert M. Hensel
Disability is natural. We must stop believing that disabilities keep a person from doing something. Because that’s not true… Having a disability doesn’t stop me from doing anything.
Benjamin Snow, Grade 8
Not all disabled folks like to be associated with terms related to being inspirational. So, be careful.
- Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
- A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
- It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
- I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
- Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.
- Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that, so it goes on flying anyway.
Mary Kay Ash
- Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Francis of Assisi
- So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
- Whether someone is useful only matters if you value people by their use.
- Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.
- Your success and happiness lie in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
- Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.
- The measure of a man, or woman, is not so much what they have accomplished, though that has weight. It often is much more thought what that man or woman has overcome to accomplish what they have.
By Samantha Taylor
Samantha writes about family, entertainment, and pop culture.
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