December 3rd, 2023 marked the annual celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day championing the rights, achievements, and aspirations of people worldwide with disabilities.

This year’s theme was, “United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities.”

The theme highlighted the efforts of organisations and people with intellectual disabilities to ensure inclusivity across the Sustainable Development Goals’ universal call to action.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve as a blueprint for a better, more sustainable, and inclusive future for all.

For Inclusion International, these goals are tied to much of the work our network does, with many of the goals working towards achieving a more inclusive world for people with intellectual disabilities.

Understanding the SDGs and Their Impact

On International day of Persons with Disabilities, we highlighted several SDGs and their significance to people with intellectual disabilities.

SDG4 – Quality Education for All: Inclusive education remains pivotal for people with intellectual disabilities, ensuring equal access to quality education and vocational training, fostering independence and community inclusion.

SDG5 – Gender Equality: Ensuring women and girls with intellectual disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth: Creating supportive and inclusive workplaces stands central for people with intellectual disabilities, striving for fair treatment and equal opportunities.

SDG10 – Reduced Inequalities: Promoting social and economic inclusion irrespective of disabilities is imperative, striving for a fairer and more equitable society.

SDG16 – Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: Inclusive decision-making processes empower people with intellectual disabilities, fostering a society where every voice matters.

Voices and Advocates Making a Difference

The real impact of the SDGs lies in the stories and initiatives of those advocating for change, however. Across our network, members submitted stories of the work they are doing to help achieve these goals.

Fernanda Castro – Advocating for Gender Equality

Meet Fernanda Castro from Mexico and self-advocate with CONFE. She champions gender equality for women and girls with intellectual disabilities. Her work significantly contributes to SDG5 by ensuring equal opportunities for all.

Chantal Gnahoui – Defender of Rights in Benin

Chantal, a Council member of Inclusion International, tirelessly advocates for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities in Benin. Her efforts are in line with SDG10 and SDG16, aiming to advance equality and inclusive decision-making.

Chantal Ghanhoui

Mark Mapemba – Inclusive Education Advocate

Listen to Mark Mapemba of Inclusion International as he emphasises the critical need for inclusive education. His focus on supporting teachers aligns with SDG4, ensuring accessible and quality education for all.

Juan Esteban Montoya Montoya – Accessibility Advocate in Colombia

Juan Esteban Montoya Montoya, associated with Asdown Colombia, works tirelessly to make information universally accessible. His efforts connect with SDG4 and SDG10, ensuring equal access and understanding for everyone.

Juan Esteban Montoya

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023 serves as a reminder of the collective strength and commitment needed to build a more inclusive world for everyone.

Let’s continue to amplify these voices, uphold their rights, and work together to achieve a future where no one is left behind.