More than 80 million Africans live with disabilities – How can you help?

By November 29, 2017 No Comments

Over 650 million people are estimated to be living with disabilities globally, of whom more than 500 million are in developing countries.

In Africa, the World Health Organisation estimates that at least 81 million people are affected by some form of disability. In Africa, as in other regions, persons with disabilities are disproportionately likely to live in poverty and, too often, lack access to education, health care, employment opportunities, housing, social protection systems, justice, cultural expression and participation in political life. The ability of persons with disabilities to participate in society is often frustrated because physical environments, transportation and information and communications systems are not accessible.

This is why the United Nations set aside a day to acknowledge the contribution of persons with disabilities to socio-economic development.

What is International Day of People with Disability?

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations sanctioned day held each year on 3 December. It is a day that aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. Celebrating is a collaborative effort between schools, organisations, community groups, businesses and individuals who host a range of events to help break down barriers and celebrate an inclusive society for all. This year marks the 25th anniversary of International Day of People with Disability. Thousands of registered events have been held around the world since its inception in 1992. The United Nations theme for 2017 is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”. The overarching principle of this theme based on transformative changes envisaged in the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development is to ‘leave no one behind’ and empower people with disability to be active contributors of society.

Help us to spread the word

The best way to celebrate is to hold an event for your club, school, community group, workplace, business or organisation. By gathering together to celebrate this day and talking about disability, you will help to break down barriers for the many persons living with disability and contribute to positive change in your community. An International Day of People with Disability event should involve and celebrate people with disability and be held on or around 3 December.

Event Ideas

Stuck for ideas on what kind of event to run? This list can help you get started.

Activity Description Suited to
Art class Run an art class painting with restricted senses e.g. without use of your hands or blindfolded. Clubs



Art show Ask local artists to dedicate an art show. Or develop a piece of art on the lives of people with disability. Community
Awards Acknowledge the achievements of people with disability and those making positive contributions. E.g. recognise accomplishments of students or sportspeople, or businesses with good disability access. Everyone


Awareness in action Mark the day in your club, workplace, school, business or organisation through internal networks

Put up posters to celebrate and take a group photo and post on Facebook

Breakfast or brunch Host a breakfast or brunch to mark the day.

Invite a person with disability and/or your local member of parliament to speak.

Creative Competition Use the theme ‘break down the barriers and celebrate ability’ and run a competition. It could be a fiction or nonfiction short story, poem, artwork, or multimedia production. School



Concert Hold a concert to mark the day, it could feature people with disability or you could provide discounted tickets for people with disability.

Don’t forget to make sure the venue is accessible.




Discounts Provide discounts for people with disability and carers to mark the day. This might suit sport, recreation, leisure and event venues. Business
Expo A disability expo where local organisations with a connection to disability can set-up stalls with information about goods and services. Business
Organisations Community
Fundraising Help out a charity organisation associated with providing services and support for people with disability and undertake a funding drive or identify a volunteering opportunity. Everyone
Guest Speaker Organise a guest speaker to talk about disability issues or to share their story to inspire others. Everyone
Lunch Host a lunch to mark the day.

Invite a person with disability and/or your local member of parliament to speak.

Open Day Spread the word about any facilities, equipment, services or employment opportunities that will benefit people with disability by holding an open day. Everyone
Morning tea Host a morning to mark the day.

Invite a person with disability and/or your local member of parliament to speak.

Sports carnival Run an inclusive sports carnival featuring seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball etc. School
Sport game Run a sports game like seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, goalball, treasure hunt relay (in a wheelchair), wheelchair dancing, bushwalk with blindfolds, or navigate the playground. School


Sausage Sizzle Hold a sausage sizzle to mark the day.

Every dollar can support a local organisation helping people with disability.

Working bee Have a working bee to remove obstacles which might create barriers for people with disability such as employees, visitors or customers in your organisations. Everyone

Leave a Reply