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MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (IDPD) 2021 BY THE FOUNDER OF ESLF, H.E DR. EUNICE ORTOM.

The 3rd of December is designated as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in all spheres of society and development and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The theme for IDPD this year which is, “Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities Toward an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post-COVID-19 World” could not have come at a better time. World over, the new normal set by the COVID-19 pandemic has made life uncertain and deeply challenging in many ways particularly for PWDs who even under normal circumstances, are less likely to access health care, education, employment and actively participate in the community due to the multiple and intertwined cultural, socioeconomic and systemic barriers.

Though the word “Disability” connotes dysfunctionality, we must take to mind that this set of special persons are skilled, talented, gifted and efficient in various ways and so should be given equal opportunity in the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life.

As we commemorate this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I call on all state and non state actors to consider the potential in this demographic which constitutes about 15% of the estimated human population.

We must beam our lights on this demographic and take action to put in place policies and laws that pull down barriers in accces to services for PWDs. We must be deliberate and conscious to include PWDs in the highest levels of leadership and decision making in line with the tenets of the Sustainable Development Goals to Leave No One Behind and “nothing for us, without us.

“Beyond this day, I call on all stakeholders to sustain actions that promote the rights of PWDs to live healthy dignified lives and to attain their full potentials in life for the good of our communities, state and nation at large.

Emmanuel Enenche Umele

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