Yesterday, 12 July, was Disabilities Awareness Day in the UK, which draws attention to the needs of people with disabilities, provides a fun, family event, and raises money for charity.
Did you know that there are around one billion people with disabilities worldwide? That’s 15% of the population. In the UK, there are around 14 million disabled people, including 1.2 million wheelchair users.
Of course, disabilities are not just about wheelchairs. A disability is a long-term mental or physical impairment which makes regular life more difficult. The most common forms of disability in the UK involve mobility (52%), stamina and breathing (38%), and dexterity (27%), according to a Family Resources survey in 2015-16.
In 2011, the World Report on Disability found that people with disabilities also tend to have worse health and a higher risk of poverty than those without disabilities. Nine out of 10 disabled children living in lower-income countries do not go to school. In some countries, unemployment among disabled people reaches up to 80%.
But the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals pledge to “leave no one behind” by 2030. What should be done to help people with disabilities around the world?
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In this video, a teenage wheelchair basketball player named Ryuga Akaishi discusses his dream of playing in the Games. (Turn on subtitles for English translation.) What can we learn from his story?
- At the 2016 Grammy Awards, the blind singer and musician Stevie Wonder said, “We need to make every single thing accessible to every person with a disability.” In groups, list some of the biggest changes that you think society should make in order to achieve this.
- Design a poster advertising the 2021 Paralympic Games. Could they be more exciting than the Olympic Games?
- Choose a famous person or historical figure with a disability. Create a presentation about their life and achievements.