International Day of Persons with Disabilities falls on 3rd of December each year. It 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.
The theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “The Future is Accessible” which means that we must all, together, look towards a future where the barriers which stand in people’s way no longer exist. We envisage a future where people can access a building without using stairs; where a person can access a ramp to the beach; or can access a mainstream classroom; or can get a job without fear of discrimination.
Working towards an accessible future is everyone’s responsibility. We invite you to join with us:
- In creating a future which demands that people are not excluded because of their health impairments.
- To call out barriers wherever you see them, and work with us to overcome them.
International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) stands by its conviction that a person is not inherently ‘disabled’…disability is NOT a feature of a person. We say that people have health impairments: some of us need wheelchairs; some of us need guide dogs; some of us need assistive technology – just like some of us need glasses to read; or medication to manage pain; or an inhaler to manage asthma.
We all have different health impairments at some time in our lives. The difference is that most of the time your health impairment doesn’t stop you from functioning, being included or participating in your community.
IDPWD exists to make sure that environmental and social barriers are identified, and to help everyone to work together to overcome them. We will never eradicate health impairments…but by overcoming barriers, then we eradicate disablement.
In order to mark the day a number of events have been scheduled:
- Light County Kildare Purple
Landmark buildings will be flooded in purple lights in a salute to 643,131 people in Ireland, (over 13% of the population) who live with a disability. To date the following landmarks are participating in Kildare:
- Naas Town Hall
- Newbridge Town Hall
- Aras Chill Dara
- Maynooth College Spire
- Maynooth University Campus Building – to be decided
- Naas Ball
We have a three-step plan to get anyone and everyone involved:
- Take a photo of yourself/building in the purple haze as well as mentioning the organisations housed inside.
- Post images and videos to social media using the hashtags:
- From anywhere, anyone can take a photo and use filters on their smart phone to go purple and show their support.
- Exhibition by the following Disability Organisations in Aras Chill Dara – 10am to 2.30pm
- Irish Guide Dogs will be showcasing their:
- Sensory Tunnel:
This gives users a unique sense of what it is like to be vision impaired. You are invited to walk through the inflated structure blindfolded with street noises and loud traffic played over the speakers. Different tactile surfaces such as a brick wall, wooden fence, netting, grass and fur will allow users to feel their way through the five-metre-long structure. The floor has panels with bumps similar to the tactile pavement used to guide vision impaired people on the streets. When people exit the tunnel they often describe how it felt to experience life with vision impairment. Feedback is often about feeling very alone, vulnerable and scared but also describing it as an unexpected journey and an opportunity to realise how our sight shouldn’t be taken for granted.
- As I Am will be showcasing their:
- Autism Experience Exhibition:
This is an enjoyable and educational experience which allows us to step into the shoes of the autism community. This exhibition aims to give people a practical experience of what life with autism is really like. You will get to browse the banners enjoy the audio guide and try the activities which represent the challenges faced by those who are on the autism spectrum. There are many components to each banner to really help people experience different aspects of autism. We believe that after you have engaged with the exhibition you will see autism differently and be able to empathise more with those with the condition and think about their role in autism inclusion.
- Arthritis Ireland
- Irish Heart Foundation
- Toys, Technology, Training (Libraries)
- Access Earth
- Invitation for everyone to wear a piece of purple clothing on the day to show solidarity with the campaign
Kildare County Council that working collaboratively with disability advocates will help them deliver a shared commitment that no section of our community is left behind in the future delivery of our services.