Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for People of All Abilities
I feel deeply honoured and privileged to be invited to deliver this Keynote Address. I would, therefore, like to thank the Network Advocacy for Persons with Visible Disabilities, who, on behalf of the Physically Challenged Community in Niger Delta organized the 4th NAPVID Rights Above Charity Lecture and also for honouring me this way.
Historically, people with disabilities have largely been provided for through solutions that segregate them, such as separate residential institutions and special schools.
This was very rampant in Nigeria with people suffering from leprosy and skin diseases. Those with hearing disabilities were sent to special schools. That was when leprosy was considered incurable. Today, we are challenged by this historical fact. Leprosy is now curable. Each year the United Nations marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and announces a theme.2 The theme for 2015 is: Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.
There are also three sub-themes this year: Making cities inclusive and accessible for all Improving disability data and statistics Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development. 2 UN We intend to address the theme from two perspectives – access to infrastructure – economic and social – and empowerment by way of employment and provision of facilities.
In doing this, we will advocate movement from exclusion to inclusion and from segregation to integration. Generally, the annual theme provides a framework for considering how people with disability are excluded from society by promoting the removal of all types of barriers; including those relating to the physical environment, information and communications technology (ICT), or attitudinal barriers. This has been occurring since 1992 when the General Assembly proclaimed 3 December as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.