Sunday, 3rd December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It is estimated that one in four Kiwis live with some form of disability, so we are all touched by the diversity that comes with disability. To help celebrate this day, thousands of bright orange wristbands with the words ‘Inclusion Matters’ on them have been sent to organisations throughout the country that are part of the campaign.
Disability Rights Commissioner, Paul Gibson says he is thrilled to be working with IHC, CCS Disability Action, People First and CUBE (disabled youth) who are all big supporters of this day of celebration and acknowledgement.
Many disabled people lead a rich, fulfilling life of work, family, sport and educational opportunities, but there is still a long way to go to bring those with disabilities into mainstream society. There is a need to make schools, businesses and workplaces more user-friendly, especially for wheel-chair bound Kiwis. I didn't really understand how difficult getting around could be, until a family member ended up on crutches. All of a sudden, we noticed how few disabled persons car parks there were in the city and suburbs. Steps were narrow and steep. Shopping aisles were narrow. Doors were heavy and hard to open. We were fortunate, the foot mended and the crutches got returned to a mobility aids rental business (that had a heavy, push open door). I went home with a realization that what we had lived through for a short time was permanent for many people.
With more awareness and better building design, we are seeing much more diversity in the workplace and community, but there is still a long way to go.
It is interesting to see that over the years, the Paralympics are becoming more popular. More athletes competing, more spectators cheering the athletes on. More coverage on television so we can see how sporty they are. And I don't know about you but, I enjoy the Paralympics more that the Olympics. I wonder how long I'll have to wait to see persons with disabilities on television, film and stage. How long a wait to see an Oscar nomination and win?
- You can find out more on the Human Rights Commission International Day of Persons with Disabilities website.
- Christchurch City Council's Inclusive Christchurch links to KiwiAble services, and has an accessibility map.
- CINCH Community Information Christchurch lists organisations and clubs for persons with disabilities.
- Find resources in our collection about disability in New Zealand.
Inclusion matters: access and empowerment of people of all abilities - Celebrating United Nations Day of Persons with Disabilities.