As we “Orange The World” with the 16 days of activism against gender based violence, we also commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities held every year on the 3rd of December. This year’s theme is “Building Back Better: towards a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World.” According to the World Health Organization 2020 World Report on Disability, 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, have disabilities. For years persons with disabilities have been discriminated and stigmatized by their communities and in some cases highly oppressed.

From anecdotal data collected by Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe, this stigmatization is brought about by lack of knowledge on disability issues and disability rights both by the victim and the oppressor. Consequently, persons with disabilities may be reviled or pitied, but are overall not considered as persons deserving equal rights. By celebrating International Day for Persons with Disabilities we raise critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities, promote awareness-raising about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.

Organizations such as Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe aim to promote inclusive education through facilitating enrollment of children and youths with disabilities into mainstream schools while assisting them with access to health, rehabilitation services, victim friendly justice systems and sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services. Through collaborating and working with other organizations which share the same objectives, Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe also facilitates people with disabilities to earn their own living through skills training and job placements.

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