International Day of People with Disability – five ways for organisations to celebrate in 2019

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations-sanctioned day that is celebrated internationally on 3 December. It seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from inclusion of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. 

The United Nations has declared the 2019 theme: 'Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda'. This theme focuses on the empowerment of people with disability for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as anticipated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ and recognises disability as a cross-cutting issue. 

Many Australian organisations are also using 'The future is accessible' as their key theme to celebrate the day. 

Kurt Fearnley AO has been named Australia's IDPwD patron for 2019. A sports icon, champion for the rights of people with disability and NSW Australian of the Year, Kurt led a thought-provoking panel discussion on personal leadership at the Australian Network on Disability's Annual National Conference in May. 

IDPwD represents a significant opportunity for organisations to share their commitment, campaigns, leadership and stories of empowerment related to inclusion of people with disability in the workforce. Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate this important occasion in 2019. 

1. Create an awareness campaign

An authentic campaign can encourage your people to share their stories and ask for the workplace adjustments they need. Fujitsu’s ‘Be Completely You’ video is a great example of a creative campaign that highlights the individual and business benefits of inclusion of people with disability in the workplace. 

2. Launch a new policy, plan or initiative

What better time to announce a new policy, accessibility action plan or initiative related to inclusion of people with disability than on IDPwD? Take the opportunity to engage your staff, celebrate your organisation’s commitment and leadership, and share the initiative with your customers and stakeholders.

3. Host an IDPwD event at your workplace

This is your chance to engage your whole organisation in the business of inclusion. An internal event can be a great way to showcase the great work of your Disability Employee Network, launch a new initiative, celebrate your successes or reinforce your organisation’s commitment to inclusion.

Engage your audience with a dynamic panel discussion, a presentation by your Disability Champion, a representative from a disability-related organisation or a special guest with lived experience of disability. 

Our event accessibility checklist will help you ensure everyone feels included. 

4. Encourage your people to learn

A lunch-and-learn or similar activity will not only support your people to engage with IDPwD, but learn from it, too. The key is to choose a subject that can be applied to any business area. For example, a lunch-and-learn about mental health at work can build awareness about the depth and diversity of people's experiences, and promote the benefits of self-care. 

Or, how about an information session to help you bring an internal project to life? It could be a great way to generate interest and understanding by talking about the wider impacts that make the project so worthwhile. 

5. Make a public commitment 

Business leaders internationally are making themselves accountable for the inclusion of people with disability in the workforce in what's being called a 'Disability Inclusion Revolution'. As global momentum builds, this is your chance to declare your organisation's commitment to this agenda and make it known that yours is an organisation that will contribute to greater fairness and equality. 

Share and discover

Some amazing and powerful stories, campaigns and events are shared across the globe in recognition of IDPwD. Share your contribution, discover new ideas and keep in touch with this important occasion by using #IDPD (global) and #IDPWD (Australia).

Workplace resources you can download and use to promote IDPwD are available on the Australian IDPwD website.

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