International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a day that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992. The aim of Disability Day is to encourage a better understanding of people affect by a disability, together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life, from economic, to political to social and cultural.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is not concerned exclusively with either mental or physical disabilities, but rather encompasses all known disabilities, from Autism to Down Syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis.

The history of Disability Day

Everything started in 1976 when the United Nations General Assembly made the decision that 1981 should be the International Day of Disabled Persons. The 5 years between the making of that decision and the actual Year of Disabled Persons were spend contemplating the hardships of the disabled, how the opportunities of the disabled could be equalized and how to ensure the disabled take part fully in community life, enjoying all of the rights and benefits non-disabled citizens have.

The decade between 1983 and 1992 was later proclaimed the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons and during that time, all of the concepts previously created became parts of one long process that was implemented in order to improve the lives of disabled persons the world over.

How we are celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Each year since 1992 a variety of events are held in many countries. International Day of Persons with Disabilities is used for holding discussions, forums and campaigns relating to disability and communities are encouraged to organize the meeting, talks and even performances in their local areas.

In Vegreville, we are celebrating by having a Vegreville Enable Photo, Art and Poetry Exhibition. The overall aim is to show non-disabled people that a person with a disability can be a vibrant member of society. As it happens that the entirely healthy are not always quite aware of this fact, which can lead to difference kinds of discrimination of varying performances by proving to themselves that there are many things they can still do, despite their conditions, which can help with their self-esteem and avoid mental issues such as depression from plaguing them. In general, these kinds of events are meant to challenge them and get rid of various stereotypes so disabled people can enjoy lives free of discrimination and additional hardship.

Each year the day is celebrated there is an emphasis on a new aspect related to improving the lives of people living with a disability. In 2007, for example, the theme of the years was: “decent Work for Persons with Disabilities”. In 2013, for example, it was “Break Barriers, Open Doors for an inclusive society and development for all”, a call to help disabled people live in and to make sure that society was as accessible as possible for disabled people in all of it’s aspects, from making sure buildings are wheelchair accessible to installing braille on elevator buttons.

So, please stop by the Vegreville Centennial library between noon and 4pm on December 3rd, 2016 to help us raise awareness and see for yourself the artistry that Persons with Disabilities have created. We will have light refreshments as well.