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The number of disabled youth has been increasing gradually and has thus resulted in heightened concern in relation to their rights and well-being. Three to five hundred million people worldwide live with a disability of some kind. Many youth living with disability encounter issues such as; prejudice, social isolation and discrimination from members of their respective societies.

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on 3 December around the world. International Day of Persons with Disabilities mobilizes support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities, promotes awareness-raising about disability issues and draws attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.

The theme for this year’s International Day is ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies for all’, with a focus on enabling conditions for the transformative changes envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 2030 Agenda pledges to leave no one behind. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), seek to increase the awareness and understanding of public towards all issues encountered by disabled people. This is an opportunity to highlight how far we have come in recognising persons with disabilities as just another manifestation of diversity in our communities, and to stand in support of a society that embraces that diversity in all its forms and shapes.

Realizing the importance of defending the rights of disabled youth, many international organisations, governmental bodies, NGOs and media-organisations have been contributing through many programs and initiatives. International organizations have been launching many actions that support education for disabled youth and convention on their rights.

Therefore, let us contribute our efforts in providing decent rehabilitative care and prosthetic devices as well as improving educational aspects for disabled youth.

Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities!