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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

People packing food in makeshift warehouse
Preparing for food distribution in response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Kate Cerbas (right), who serves on the board of directors of CBM partner ADPI, is the person in charge of monitoring the packing activities.

CBM and partners worldwide celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2013.

Breaking barriers, opening doors

This year the global theme of World Disability Day is ‘Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all’.  Together with our partners around the globe, CBM is celebrating December 3rd with activities to raise public awareness on the rights of persons with disabilities.

CBM calls for inclusive humanitarian action

Two men unoading emergency relief supplies from a truck (one has a prosthetic leg) ©CBM
CBM and partner ADPI distributing emergency relief supplies after Typhoon Haiyan
On Dec 3rd 2013 CBM calls on world leaders and UN agencies to include persons with disabilities in global disaster preparedness and humanitarian action.  In particular we remind our partners worldwide to include persons with disabilities in the emergency response and reconstruction in the Philippines. The recent typhoon which has devastated the Philippines shows us once again how important it is to include all members of society in disaster risk reduction, humanitarian response, and post-disaster reconstruction.

CBM also emphasises the role of persons with disabilities themselves, individually and/or as part of their organisations, in ‘breaking barriers and opening doors’. During our emergency response to Typhoon Haiyan, persons with disabilities were instrumental in early relief efforts to support their communities through our partners, the local Disabled People Organisations (DPOs).

CBM and partners marking World Disability Day

List updated as reports come in...


  • End the Cycle has created a short video showcasing how Australian NGOs are partnering with End the Cycle, and are leading the field in promoting the rights of people with disability.
  • End the Cycle are hosting a Twitter Forum - 3:00 – 4:00pm (AEDT) on 3 December, which will pose questions & answers on how disability inclusive development can ‘break barriers and open doors’.
  • CBM Australia will post pictures and brief stories of our field partners celebrations on CBMA’s blog throughout the day
  • ADDC is hosting a parliamentary event to showcase the achievements of the Australian international development sector


A man standing with arms folded (long hair, beard, glasses, brightly-coloured shirt ©thedailystar.net
Mahmuduzzaman Babu
CBM Bangladesh Country Office will have a joint event with GIZ on World Disability Day 2013, a rooftop concert officially opened by the German Ambassador to Bangladesh. 

Mahmuduzzaman Babu, a well-known singer from Bangladesh, has written a new song for the event.


Luisa Fenu (Policy Officer at CBM EU Liaison Office) will attend a series of meetings and Human Right forums with partners from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Indonesia in Brussels.

Burkina Faso

To celebrate the international day for persons with disabilities CBM country coordination office in Burkina Faso, together with local partners and other international NGOs, will carry out a number of activities in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. The events are also linked to preparations for the global campaign for education in 2014.

Tuesday 3rd December
  • Media broadcasts of the events in Ouagadougou, to highlight the issues of the day to the general population

Friday 6th December in Bobo Dioulasso
  • Launching ceremony of the international day for persons with disabilities – speech, artistic performances, music and dance, real life stories.
  • Conference – How to implement the 2013 theme of Persons with Disabilities in Burkina Faso
  • Exhibition – Items made by persons with disabilities.

Saturday 7th December in Bobo Dioulasso
  • Exhibition - Items made by persons with disabilities.
  • Workshop – Introduction of the world global campaign for education 2014 and Burkina’s contribution to the campaign.
  • Conference – status of Inclusive education and presentation of one program of inclusive education.
  • Cultural evening - speech, artistic performances, music, dance and sketches.


In Ethiopia, CBM Country Coordinator, Tigabu Gebremedhin, was invited to participate on a national TV show (29 November)  organised by Ethiopian Federation of National Associations of Persons with Disabilities together with representatives of MoH, MoEducation, Ministry of Social Affairs and other organisations. The theme was - Break Barriers, Open doors: for inclusive society for All' - 'The global and national development trend and persons with disability'

The issues raised were:
  • what is the current trend of human development from disability perspective?
  • what is inclusive society?
  • what is inclusive development?
  • how will inclusive society be achieved?
  • what is the legitimacy of the right to inclusive development?
  • what are the two crucial positions that persons with disability hold in the process of achieving inclusive development?


stop the cycle of poverty and disability ©CBM
CBM Germany is hosting a symposium in Berlin:
Making Education Inclusive for People with Disabilities in Development Co-operation - Broadening the Scope of the Post-2015-Development Agenda

In the context of the discourse on a global post-2015-development agenda, the event aims to focus on inclusive
education, especially for people with disabilities in developing countries.


In Central Java, CBM Indonesia partner 'PPRBM' will be organising several events, including:
  • Peace Initiative in Klaten & Sukoharjo districts on 8 December, in Boyolali District on 1 December
  • Workshop and stakeholders gathering in Klaten on 5 December and Sukoharjo district on 3 December
  • 'Night Reflection' in Klaten on 2 December
  • Sensitization of Health issue which is inclusive to persons with disabilities in Klaten, 10 December
  • Fun activities with children with disabilities in Klaten, 11 December


At the Regional offices of CBM East Africa and CBM Central Africa in Nairobi, a short session was conducted with all staff, pledging commitment to breaking barriers:

Other events around the country in Kenya include:

1. Lodwar, Northern Kenya: Merlin will host the International Day of Persons with disabilities in Lodwar, Turkana. The event planning has been participatory with the involvement of government line ministries (Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social services) Kenya Red Cross, Diocese of Lodwar and Turkana Disability Network.  The planned activities for the day are:
  • Community awareness drive round the county creating awareness about the day
  • A Processional march flagged off from the County Executives and County Directors
  • Entertainment by St. Benedicts school for the deaf, DPO choir and County choir followed by speeches
2.   MERU: SPARK will be hosting the event in Meru town with a procession beginning at the Governor’s office through the town and ending at the Diocese of Meru. In attendance will be Government line ministries representatives, the Regional representative of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, the President of the Rotaract in Kenya. 
Secondly, there will be a post event held in Meru form the 9th-11th December. A Community Disaster Risk Reduction workshop shall be held in the town to engage stake holders on disability and emergency response by providing practical steps on disaster risk reduction on how to mainstream disability into emergency and recovery interventions.
3.   Garissa: The Northern Nomadic Disabled Organization will be holding a series of events. It begins with a public 'barasa' (a public meeting attended by the community and local authorities to discuss specific issues) to create awareness about the day and issues around disability. In the afternoon a football tournament will be held. Gender & Equality Commission, three area Members of Parliament, members of County Assembly of Garissa county and their peers from Wajir County and representative of Executive wing from three counties will be gracing the occasion. We have also invited CSOs working in Garissa and by extension northern Kenya.
4.   Nairobi: Kenya Several Development Agencies, Government , Private sector and community Based Organisation have teamed up to commemorate the the day at the Riruta Special school. The activities for the day shall be:
  • An early morning procession within Riruta
  • Screening, assessments and referrals
  • School placements for children with disabilities upon assessment
  • Counselling and mentoring
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • Physio and occupational therapies
  • Financial management advice
  • Exhibitions
The objectives of this commemoration include:
  • Promote public awareness within Riruta on disabilities to break barriers and open doors: for an inclusive society for all
  • Highlight progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, especially in reference to access to education for children with disabilities
  • Emphasis the collaborative partnerships, between the community and development agencies, that will address the highlighted disability barriers (we will provide disability champions that are role models in their achievements)
  • Encourage participation of persons/children with disability with the community and the communities commitment to including persons with disability in decision making and access to basic services


CBM Southern African Regional Office will be in Lesotho for a round table event as part of the COPDAM project.

COPDAM is a continental disability policy ('Communities of Practice in Disability Advocacy for Mainstreaming') implemented by the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD) in cooperation with European Union (EU) and CBM.


CBM Country Coordination Office in Niamey, Niger, in collaboration with its local partners and Handicap International, have planned the following activities to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

Monday 2nd December at the University of Niamey, Niger
  • Cultural evening organised by Association des Elèves et Etudiants handicapés du Niger (AEEHUN)

Tuesday 3rd December at Palais du 29 juillet in Niamey, Niger
  • Official launch of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by the Minister of Population, the Promotion of Women and the Protection of Children.
  • Workshop – Employment and self-employment for persons with disabilities
  • Movie – “Making It Work” realised by CBM and Handicap International.

Wednesday 4th December at the stadium Général Seyni Koutché, Niamey
  • Sports Day

Thursday 5th December at Palais des congrès of Niamey, Niger
  • Documentary movie – “Talents of persons with disabilities”

Friday 6th December at the University of Niamey, Niger.
  • Conference and debate – Education for children with disabilities.

Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea CBM partner Cheshire disability Services are involved are the following activities:
  • Services providers will interacting with users, presenting items, etc
  • There will be a live 'radio talk' where persons with disabilities will be interviewed
  • Guest speakers will include the Minister for Community Development & Youth


  • The CBM Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Coordination Office will hold a workshop with partners (Disabled People’s Organisations and Local Government Units) - It is a 3-day gathering of sharing of experiences and good practices in using CBR, particularly its principles, as a key strategy in our common journey towards building inclusive communities in the Philippines. This gathering will also be a time for appreciating and celebrating our partnership over the years!"
  • CBM Partner programme Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy (AKAP-Pinoy) will celebrate the launching of the Philippine Parallel Report for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Tahanan Walang Hagdanan are organising a race, similar to 2012: This year's team is going to be composed of six members, including people with and without disabilities. The race is akin to the Amazing Race where teams race around a determined route with several route markers (predetermined destinations) along the way. Each route marker features a task that all teams must complete for them to move along the race. Each team should strive to finish each leg as quickly as possible as the last team to check-in at the pit stop will also be the last team to start the next leg. The first team to check-in at the pit stop in the final leg wins the race! This national adventure race will coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and will run for three days from November 29, 30 to December 1. 

Sri Lanka

On 3 December 2013 CBM Sri Lanka is supporting a national event spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Services in collaboration with the Uva Provincial Council and Ministry of Health. The event is held in Monaragala District at the public library auditorium. CBM is sponsoring a stall for our lead CBR partner Navajeevana Rehabilitation Tangalla where they will showcase a Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) and Institution Based Rehabilitation programme conducted through them. The CBM stall will also illustrate the support extended by CBM over the years in Sri Lanka. 

On 6 December 2013 the Government of Sri Lanka is organizing a high profile national event to celebrate International Disability Day which will be held in Wellawaya division of Monaragala district (age-friendly and disability-friendly cities).  H.E the President, honorable Chief Minister for Uva Province and the Hon Minister of Social Services will be special invitees at this event.  At the occasion, CBM is supporting by providing laptops with Jaws software for 3 university students with visual impairment identified by the Sri Lanka Blind Council. This event especially felicitates the work conducted in the sector of disability while also recognising the talent of and achievements by persons with disabilities.


CBM Central East Asia will attend the first ever ESCAP-Sasakawa Award for Disability-Inclusive Business in Asia and the Pacific, which aims to
  • Publicly recognise and reward businesses that demonstrate good practices in responding to the needs of persons with disabilities in their business operations
  • Raise awareness regarding the opportunities available to the private sector for inclusion of persons with disabilities in businesses
  • Catalyse Asia-Pacific leadership in disability-inclusive business


This year, the event will coincide with celebrations to mark 30 years since the establishment of the CBM West Africa Regional Office in Togo, with various activities taking place between 3rd December 2013 and mid-May 2014 that are oriented towards people who have been part of CBM programmes.

The celebrations present a platform for CBM and local partners to demonstrate the significant advances they have made in bringing attention towards needs of persons with disabilities, and also to advocate for greater actions by governments, International NGOs and the society in general for the benefit of all persons with disabilities. The celebration will take place at the EPHPHATHA, a school for Deaf Children in Lomé, Togo.

Tuesday 3rd December 2013, at EPHPHATA,
  • 30 years celebrations - CBM and its work in Togo and West Africa
  • Presentations on disability issues in Togo – Presentations by the CBM Regional Director for West Africa and the Minister for Social Action, Promotion of Women and Literacy.
  • Testimonies from beneficiaries
  • Presentation of mobility tools and devices to persons with disabilities – Walking canes, wheelchairs, sign language dictionary, stimulation material for children with mental illness.
  • Sketch and music by persons with disabilities including, women with disabilities

USA (United Nations, New York)

At the UN Headquarters in New York, under the theme “Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all’, CBM will make a statement on breaking barriers and opening doors to humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction. This can be followed live on UN web TV (probably between 10am to 10.50am New York time)


advent calendar ©CBM
  • Kirsty Smith (National Director/CEO for CBM UK) will be attending: BOND Disability and Development “Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all”, reception on the occasion of the International Day of Disabled Persons 2013 at 2.30 – 4pm on Dec 3rd in the Jubilee Room, House of Commons
  • Anne Wafula Strike (British Paralympic wheelchair racer) and journalist Victoria Brignell challenge misconceptions about disability.
  • Plus, in the lead up to Christmas, CBM UK is launching its very own advent calendar but with a digital twist! CBM’s ‘Breaking Barriers - Opening Doors’ advent Calendar is like no other - each day until Christmas, you can open a door and discover CBM’s magical work with disabled people across the world!


A young woman singing into a microphone on stage (she is a wheelchair user) ©Provincial Health Department of Hue
A student participating in a singing contest during the International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2013 in Hue, Vietnam
This year Thua Thien Hue Provincial Department of Social Protection, in coordination with Vocational and Employment Services Centre organised an event celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2013 in Hue, Vietnam.

This event is not only aim to promote disability work in Vietnam, but also show the continuous development effort to include disability issues in national development plan as Vietnam is moving towards the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the building of inclusive society and development for all.

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