International Day of Care and Support:

A Human Rights-Based Approach to Care and Support for Persons with Disabilities

A smiling woman in a purple shirt with a sunflower design lovingly looks at a young boy, who is seated in a specialized chair. The boy, wearing a striped blue shirt with a graphic reading "FREE Extreme", gleefully looks back at the woman. In the background, various children's artworks and pictures adorn the walls, and through a window, a man in glasses observes the heartwarming scene.

Matías, 4, and his mother Monica at a workshop for mothers of children with disabilities organised by CBM partner Fundal in Guatemala. Matías attends the Fundal Educational Centre in Guatemala City three days a week.

Learn why the inaugural International Day of Care and Support calls for an equitable and inclusive society, highlights the critical role of caregivers, and advocates for the unique needs of persons with disabilities.

Today, the global community marks the first ever International Day of Care and Support, an important recognition of the vital role care plays in creating an equitable and inclusive society, as well as the rights of people who receive care and those who provide it.

All of us will provide support for someone, and need support from others, at different stages of our lives: as children, as adults, when we get older. But many people, including persons with disabilities, still don’t receive the essential support they need to participate in school, at work, or in their communities.

Meanwhile, the indispensable work of people who provide care, whether paid or unpaid, is simply not recognised in the way it should be. Those providing support, often women and girls, find their own opportunities limited. Globally, women perform 76.2% of the total amount of unpaid care work, 3.2 times more than men.

Care and support for persons with disabilities

Persons with disabilities can require support in various areas of life such as communication, decision making, day-to-day activities or mobility. It is essential that support is provided in line with human rights, giving those in need agency over the kind of support they receive.

Around the world, this fundamental principle is not yet fully integrated into official structures or systems, and families or social networks remain the primary providers of support for persons with disabilities. This means that they often lack choice about the support they receive, while the care and support provided by families and social networks is often unrecognised and unpaid, with these responsibilities resting predominantly on the shoulders of women and girls.

This is particularly a problem in rural and low-income environments, where publicly funded support for persons with disabilities is often not available, increasing the likelihood of them living in poverty or experiencing neglect and being denied their right to a self-determined life. 

All persons with disabilities should have access to the support they need to participate in society with dignity and autonomy. The vital work of those who provide care and support for persons with disabilities should be recognised.

What’s next?

CBM will continue to advocate locally, nationally and internationally for care and support for persons with disabilities to be included in official structures and systems, and for social protection systems that cover the extra costs persons with disabilities have for their support needs.

The community support workers who play a fundamental role in our projects around the world are already collaborating with persons with disabilities, their families and communities to improve the care and support options available to them.

This work will grow as part of our new strategic focus on community support services and systems. You can read more in our CBID Report 2023