Over the past 100 years, attitudes towards people with disabilities and inclusion have drastically improved. However, people with disabilities continue to experience marginalisation and disproportionate disadvantages. There have been multiple movements that have precipitated these changes including deinstitutionalisation, which began in the 1950s, the Paralympic movement, and increased advocacy and rights supported by various acts and legislations.
In 1992, the UN proclaimed an annual “International Day of People with Disabilities” (IDPD). Whilst this day has been observed annually for almost 30 years, 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. One important aspect of this movement is that it includes persons who themselves have a disability – ‘Nothing about us, without us’.
In 2021, IDPD, also known as IDPWD, will be observed on December 3rd and the theme for the 2021 day is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” Whilst so many people globally have continued to be impacted by the COVID pandemic, one of the key messages published by The World Health Organisation (WHO) is that “COVID-19 has resulted in further disadvantage and increased vulnerability for many persons with disabilities due to barriers in the health and social sectors, including discriminatory attitudes and inaccessible infrastructure” International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 (who.int).
We see IDPWD as a day for:
- Celebration – to recognize and value the diversity of our global community, and to cherish the role we all play, regardless of our abilities.
- Learning – to understand and learn from the experiences of people with living with a disability.
- It is a day for Optimism – to look towards the future and the creation of a world where a person is not characterised by their disabilities, but by their abilities.
- Action – where all people, organisations, agencies, and charities not only show their support for International Day of People with Disabilities, but take on a commitment to create a world characterised by equal human rights International Day of People with Disabilities (idpwd.org) – https://idpwd.org/
IDPWD is also an opportunity to remind everyone of The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. The CRPD has eight guiding principles, including ‘full and effective participation and inclusion in society’ and ‘respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity’, principles that resonate with many of us involved in the disability sector.
Per Udden, Permobil’s founder embraced mobility as a human right, and this has underpinned the values that Permobil was built on.
Here at Permobil we believe that it all starts with our wheelchair users. Our wheelchair users are the experts in their needs and the unique challenges they face in daily life, hence we value the input and perspectives they bring, influencing our interactions and product development.
Today, Permobil’s Core values continue to build on this initial philosophy and provide guidance that align with IDPWD.
These core values influence how we work as a company – from ensuring an inclusive workplace, to bringing our passion into what we do, from our warehouse team to our sales team and across the company, and by designing products focused on the user wants and needs.
We hope this day will inspire you to celebrate, learn and take action to bring about a more inclusive environment for everyone.
For more information on International Day of People with Disabilities
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html
International Day of People with Disability – Australia https://www.idpwd.com.au/about/
New Zealand Disability Strategy https://www.odi.govt.nz/nz-disability-strategy/
Clinical Education Specialist
Tracee-lee Maginnity joined Permobil Australia in July 2019, as a clinical education specialist. She graduated Auckland University of Technology with a BHSc (Occupational Therapy) in 2003 and has since worked in various roles related to seating and mobility including assessing, prescribing and educating.
Tracee-lee is passionate about maximising functional outcomes with end users and the importance of education within the industry.