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International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014

This image shows a young Tanzanian boy in a wheelchair, wearing his school uniform and attending classes with his classmates. they are all looking at the camera and smiling, their school teacher is wearing a traditional African dress and standing
© CBM/argum/Einberger
7 year old Huseni (in the wheelchair), affected by spinal bifida, in his classroom with his school mates. Huseni is a beneficiary of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) facilities by CBM in Tanzania.

CBM celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014. We take this opportunity to share stories from our beneficiaries and to highlight the events organised by our partners and offices.

What is International Day of Persons with Disabilities?

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), also known as World Disability Day is annually observed on 3 December each year. This Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also aims at increasing awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Theme for 2014

This year the theme is Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology. The theme is timely as it marks the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and the launching of the new development framework of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

From CBM President Dave McComiskey

Image of Dave McComiskey ©CBM
Dave McComiskey, President of CBM
"At CBM, all our forms of communications are inclusive. This means that we aim for a working environment where everyone at CBM can fulfil his/her job regardless of their abilities.

As a professional organisation, we want our staff to be able to use all of our equipment, systems and software. This requires technical adjustments and time but we believe that our standards and professional conduct should follow best practices for accessibility to ensure our credibility as an inclusive NGO."

How does CBM use technology?

This image shows a girl typing on a computer keyboard. she is wearing traditional Indian clothes. ©CBM/Wyatt
Pallavi, who is unable to speak, was recently assisted to enrol in vocational training courses to develop computing, tailoring and beautician skills. Now she is keen to redouble her efforts and get a good job that will draw on the skills she’s gained.
We at CBM realise the power of technology to promote inclusion and accessibility to help realise the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society. Our Advocacy Manager Lars Bosselmann believes that "including persons with disabilities in future development plans will not only make life better for those individuals benefitting from development, it will also help to create better societies at large, thereby achieving truly inclusive development."

Social Media and assistive devices

Technology, and especially social media, is changing the way we respond to emergencies and crises and it is of paramount importance to include people with disabilities in the planning and response. Assistive devices are also becoming an important enabler in creating productive working environments. CBM is aware of the power of technology and strives relentlessly to provide benefits from technology to better the lives of people with disabilities. Read this article about the impact and benefits of assistive technology and accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Emergency response

To ensure full inclusion and maximum resilience for all in emergency response and Disaster Risk Reduction, technology must be accessible. Read more about technology in humanitarian response.


CBM Canada in partnership with the University of Toronto is working on a project to test 3D printing for prosthetics for children in Uganda. Read about this innovation here.

Read how digital technology changed our Advocacy Manager, Luisa Fenu’s life, and the opportunities presented to her thanks to accessible technology. 

Technology is also a breakthrough for inclusion, respect and fair treatment of people with disabilities. Meet Bruna, who learned to read and write in Braille, thanks to which she studied in a regular school and complemented her knowledge with computer training.

CBM and partners marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014

List updated as reports come in...

CBM at the United Nations

This image shows the logo of the UN ©United Nations
Logo of the United Nations
CBM’s UN Advocacy Officer Elizabeth Lockwood has been invited to speak on behalf of CBM at the UN at the DESA panel on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Emergency Response. The panel will highlight available and innovative technologies to support disability-inclusive DRR and emergency responses, as well as emphasise the importance of making such technologies accessible for all.

Specifically, Elizabeth will discuss how technology, such as assistive technology, accessible information, communications technology and technological adaptations can impact the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all plans and activities related to crises. Elizabeth will also highlight the work that CBM does, and make recommendations for the use of technology in DRR situations for persons with disabilities.

CBM at the European Union

CBM's Lars Bosselmann, left, speaks with guests in Lomé, Togo during the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in 2011
CBM is organising an event on 9th December 2014 in the European Parliament, in which the President of CBM Dave McComiskey will participate.

The event is focused on the launch of the report ¨The Economic Costs of Exclusion and Gains of Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities”, which was developed by CBM together with the International Centre for Evidence in Disability and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

CBM launches the CBM GCE Report

To support the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Equal Right Equal Opportunity CBM coordinated activities to participate in this year’s Global Action Week (GAW). These activities are documented in the publication Inclusive Education is for Everyone - CBM and the Global Campaign for Education 2014 (to be launched on Dec 3). The report is in two parts with part one focussed on giving a brief overview of CBM, GCE, background on educational provision globally, education as a human right and information on the concept of inclusive education and part two recording the rich array of activities from across the global where CBM and partners were involved in preparing activities, with persons with disabilities actively participating in all activities.

The focus of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities include the Sustainable Development Goals where there is a strong focus on inclusion of persons form marginalised groups, including those with disabilities. Such activities as recorded in this report have all led to a greater emphasis on the true vision of Education For All, which can only be reached when all learners with disabilities have access to education.


•    CBM Australia has created a special video entitled 'Make Your Attitude Count'  outlining the fight against disability stigma and breaking down barriers for a more inclusive world.
•    They will also be hosting a question-and-answer style Twitter forum (using #IDPWD) around the importance of disability-inclusive sustainable development goals (linking in with the day’s official UN theme) from 1.30pm – 2.30pm AEST
•    A blog piece by An, a Vietnamese person living with a disability provides first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be living in the cycle of poverty and disability.
•   They will also be active on social media throughout the day, sharing images/facts/quotes from beneficiaries and our partners around the world.


CBM partner - Cambodia Development Mission for Disability joined the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Cambodian Day of Persons with Disabilities hosted by Disability Action Council (DAC) on 3 December 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Read more about the event here.


This image shows young Ethiopian kids standing in a line wearing masks ©Jerusalem Inclusive School
Children at the Jerusalem Inclusive School taking part in activities for the IDPwD
Our partners in Ethiopia, the Jerusalem Inclusive School and Right to Play Ethiopia celebrated the IDPwD on 6 December 2014 with a variety of entertainment and awareness creation programs by students and their families. Activities included music, drama, sign language competition and games.


CBM Germany is hosting a panel discussion in Berlin, with an important theme which will affect the future of people with disabilities: Leave no one behind – Inclusion of people with disabilities within the post-2015 agenda.

In the context of the discourse on a global post-2015-development agenda, the event aims to focus on the new global development goals and the inclusion of people with disabilities within these goals. A mixed panel of politicians and representatives of society and economy will discuss the necessity and the chances of disability inclusive development.

More information – Invitation to the panel discussion


CBM India will be celebrating December 3 by holding several events in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu (State in South India). The main event is a street rally through Kodaikanal, where persons with disabilities (PWDs) will display banners with slogans about awareness and inclusion. The rally will culminate at Jayaraj Hall where the second event - a public meeting will be held.
Through songs, dances and drama about disability issues CBM India will try to increase awareness and sensitise the public to causes and prevention of disabilities as well as problems faced by PWDs. A session will be conducted on the rights and opportunities in local governance for PWDs. Assistive devices will be distributed and there will also be an exhibition of products made by PWDs.


CBM Italy has been invited to a conference at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome on the 10th of December on the occasion of the World Day for Human Rights. CBM Italy will specifically focus on Inclusive Education and the importance of inclusion of children with disabilities in education.

Update about the conference-

Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities: challenges of 2015
2015 will be the European Year of Development, it will be a year rich in terms of opportunities and important challenges. It will also be the year of the new post - 2015 SDGs. It will therefore be a fundamental moment to strengthen the commitment to include persons with disabilities.
This topic was one of the main issues discussed in the seminar  titled ''Promote rights of persons with disabilities in International Cooperation'' promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation on the 10th of December 2014.
During the seminar, an update on the “Plan of Action for Disability of the Italian Cooperation” was presented which was formulated by working groups and coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the participation of more than 80 NGO and associations.
Two main areas that were discussed during the seminar were inclusive education and emergency & disability. Inclusive education is seen as a way that allows all children, including those with disabilities, to have the same level and quality of education, ensuring equal opportunities of development for all, and promoting equity and poverty eradication.
It is important to value the Italian experience, already known abroad, through advocacy, communication campaigns, information and sensitisation, in particular in schools. All these are pratical tools necessary to be used in 2015, said the the Director of DGCS/MAECI Ministro Cantini.
“The limitation that society puts on persons with disability is by all means a violation of the human rights,” said Giampiero Griffo.
CBM Italy, along the lines of national and international strategies presented the approach of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) a movie by the famous Italian director Silvio Soldini and Giorgio Garini, called “Un albero Indiano”, an Indian Tree.
A tree by all means special, which saw the participation of the whole community, in harmony and equality of participation.


This year’s celebrations took place at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) at the heart of the capital city, Nairobi. Read more


The CBM Country Office in Abuja is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Rehabilitation Department  to commemorate the day with the following activities:
•    Church and Mosque Services
•    Press briefing by the Honorable Minister - Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development
•    Sensitisation Campaign through a talk show and Jingles
•    Interactive session between employers and persons with disabilities
•    Mini Trade fair to showcase products made by persons with disabilities
•    Advocacy visit by the Honourable Minister to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in line with the theme of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The Salvation Army Oji River Children's Home in Enugu State one of the CBM's supported projects will also be carrying out the following activities:
•    Three Lectures relevant to the theme of the year will be delivered by Stakeholders from Government, faith based Organisations and Management of the Centre.
•    A talk show with the Physically Challenged Association of The Salvation Army Eastern Region and Sunrise Disables Association to educate people on how to establish and encourage sustainable development which is beneficial to persons with disabilities.

Rehabilitation Services for Persons with Disabilities Catholic Arch Diocese of Abuja, another CBM supported project in the Federal Capital Territory will be collaborating with the Federal Road Safety Corps of Nigeria to raise awareness on safe driving habit with the aim of reducing road traffic accidents. This is a disability prevention campaign which will be carried out by the two organisations to commemorate December 3rd.

Many other non governmental organisations that work in the country will also be commemorating this day in their various domains to increase awareness of the government and general public about disability issues with particular emphasis on this year's theme.


As part of the International Day of Disability, CBM provided financial and technical support for the implementation of a massive media awareness campaign on the rights of persons with disabilities in collaboration with the Platform of Federations of Persons with Disabilities in Madagascar. For more than two weeks, from November 26 to December 12, 2014, over 20 articles appeared in about a dozen national and local newspapers (Gazetiko, Express, Hebdo de Madagascar, L’Observateur, Midi Madagasikara, La Vérité, etc.); special spots and programmes were broadcasted on radio (ITW, RDB, Kolo TV, RNM, etc.) and television (TVM, Viva/Santé Magazine and RTA); and a press conference was organised to wrap up the campaign on the 5th of December.

Collaboration with other programs, such as the Human Rights Week and partners from the United Nations, European Union, human rights organisations and WaterAid, took place to ensure maximum coverage and exposure of disability issues during that period. The campaign reached its peak when, after several months of intense awareness raising and advocacy activities the Malagasy Government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on the 3rd of December. Civil society organisations working in the field of disability in Madagascar joined forces on that day to celebrate this historical event.

Finally, the official celebration of the Day was organised on the 8th of December in Antsirabe in the presence of the Minister of Population, Social Protection and Promotion of Woman in collaboration with CBM partners FANILO CBR, FOFAMA, FOFAJA and CRMM.


The National Office for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (NEP) under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security will also host the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The event will be presided over of Thailand Prime Minister, Chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha and representative from United Nations. There are over 60 organisations around the country asked to join the event of the international day.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Thailand activities include;

•    Panel discussion on Improving Quality of Life of Persons with Disabilities and Technology with representatives from NEP, Disability Thailand, National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre, and Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior
•    Performance of Persons with Disabilities
•    Trophy presentation to organisations; Outstanding SAO (Subdistrict Administrative Organisation) in supporting disability development work,  Outstanding private sector in supporting disability development work, Standard certified organisations: DPOs and Organisation for Persons with Disabilities.

As a part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Thailand, NEP will also host a Disability Development and DPOs Networking Workshop from 30th November – 3rd December 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.
CBM partners; Daughters of Charity – CBR programme (DC-CBR) and Lampang Eye Foundation are invited to join the workshop. On this occasion, both CBM partners will receive standard organisation for persons with disabilities certificate presented by NEP Director General on 1st December 2014.

On 3rd December, DC-CBR and Lampang Foundation will also attend the International Day of Persons with Disabilities event in Bangkok and will received a Trophy of Standard Certified Organisation; DPOs and Organisations for Persons with Disabilities from Thailand Prime Minister, Chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha.


•    CBM UK has launched a video “We are CBM” which explains the link between poverty and disability.
•    They organised a special live Twitter link-up with events in Kenya and Tanzania.
•    Read Victoria Brignell's latest blog on poverty and disability in the UK.


December 3rd is marked as a special day in Disability and Development in Vietnam, as Vietnam National Assembly has recently voted with 100% for the ratification of UNCRPD.
Vietnam has signed the UNCRPD in 2008 and issued the National Disability Law two years later. The Prime Minister has signed off the national project to support persons with disabilities in the country covering the period of 2012-2020, demonstrating the Vietnamese Government’s commitment in disability and development work.

Representatives from CBM Vietnam Country Coordination Office joined other organisations at the Asia and Pacific Disability Forum and celebrated this very special occasion.

Read ahead

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Cambodia celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Cambodian Day of Persons with Disabilities in Phnom Penh,Cambodia


International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Panshi Disabled Persons' Federation hosted an event to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Panshi City, China


Accessible technology in humanitarian action

To ensure full inclusion and maximum resilience for all in emergency response and Disaster Risk Reduction, technology must be accessible


Those denied sight should not be denied knowledge

Our partner ATRIEV in the Philippines has given light to those who lack the gift of sight through the power of technology


Promise of technology & persons with disabilities

Sustainable development and the promise of technology is the UN’s theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014



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