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Include people with disabilities in development

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities will be commemorated in Rundu on 8 December under the theme “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”. During the course of next week, visits will also be made to development stakeholders, encouraging them to consider the needs of persons with disabilities in their programmes.
According to the organising committee of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the event is most importantly a day for raising awareness about issues affecting persons with disabilities and their families.
“The day is also for recognising persons with disabilities who face the challenges presented by their disability and carry on living in, and contributing to their communities. It is a day to showcase and celebrate the contributions made by persons with disabilities as agents of change and development in the communities in which they live,” the organisers said.
Persons with disabilities make up an estimated 10% of the world’s population, 80% of which reside in developing countries. Furthermore, a quarter of the global population is directly affected by disability, as care-givers or family members.
The committee also said that persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. They remain largely marginalised, disproportionately poorer, frequently unemployed and have higher rates of mortality. Furthermore, they are largely excluded from civil and political processes and are overwhelmingly voiceless in matters that affect them and their society.
“Experience shows that when persons with disabilities are empowered to participate and lead the process of development, their entire community benefits, as their involvement creates opportunities for everyone with or without a disability. Including persons with disabilities, their families and their communities in developmental efforts is important to advance the development agenda,” it said.
Thus it is imperative that development efforts around the world include disability issues when determining policies, programmes, as well as allocating funds for developmental programmes and projects. Mainstreaming disability in development is a strategy for achieving equality for persons with disabilities.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is both a human rights treaty and a development tool, provides an opportunity to strengthen developmental policies related to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), thereby contributing to the realisation of a “society for all”, a society which considers and meets the needs of all persons with disabilities in the twenty-first century.
The event will begin at 09h00 at the Rundu Sport Stadium and will be preceded by a Peaceful March from the Rundu State Hospital to the stadium starting at 08h30.

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