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3rd December saw the celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, themed, Removingbarriers to create an inclusive and accessible education for all. Over one billion people, or approximately 15% of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. Persons with disabilities, "the world’s largest minority", often face barriers to participation in all aspects of society.
The impact of disability on children in low and middle income countries
In low and middle income countries disabled children are three times more like to be denied healthcare and children with disabilities are less likely to start or stay in school than other children.
The most common and powerful barriers for children with disabilitiesgaining access to educationinclude: stigma, discrimination, inaccessible transport, unprepared classrooms and teachers.
Despite a robust disability rights movement and a shift towards inclusion inlow and middle incomecountries,people with disabilitiesremain second-class citizens. Misunderstanding and fear ofpersons with disabilities result in their marginalization within the family, community, at school, and in the wider society.
Evidence and experience shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits.
For countries to achieve Education for All and to meet the Millennium Development Goal of universal completion of primary education, access to education mustcater forall children including those with disabilities.
From the day's theme,sub-themes can be selected to cover all aspects of society and development.
Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action that would help to remove barriers that limit accessibility for and participation bypersons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development. Highlight progress and obstacles in creating accessible and inclusive education, including in terms of physical environments, information and communications technology and other areas, as well as promote public awareness of existing barriers to the full inclusion of children with disabilities in their societies.