On December 3, Vientiane residents came together to celebrate the contribution of people with disabilities in honor of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The celebration raised awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities and to mobilize support to promote their dignity and wellbeing.
This year’s theme is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world”, which focuses around the overarching theme of innovation and transformative solutions for inclusive development, covering in three different interactive dialogues the following thematic topics: innovation for disability inclusive development in employment, innovation for disability inclusive development in reducing inequality and innovation for disability inclusive development: sport as an exemplar case.
The Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA) organized the celebration which was co-funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, LDPA, Disability Service Center, Lao Association of the Blind, Hands of Hope, Humanity & Inclusion Laos, the Fred Hollows Foundation with funding support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), World Education, and other organizations supporting persons with disabilities.
The celebration was conducted in two sessions, with the morning session being held at the Center for Medical Rehabilitation and the evening session taking place at Chao Anouvong Park with thousands of people from all walks of life with and without disabilities.
In the morning, there were a variety of sporting and cultural activities, including a wheelchair basketball competition, a blind football match, petanque, drawing in the dark, a braille reading contest, a sign-language contest and a talent show.
The evening event was open to the public and included exhibitions from many organizations for people with disabilities showcasing their efforts to improve the lives and well-being of persons with disabilities in Laos. The event featured activities such as wheelchair dance performance, singing, games, sign language dance, K-pop dance, panel discussions on inclusive employment.
USAID Country Representative to Laos Mr. Michael Ronning highlighted the importance of the contribution of people with disabilities. “USAID is proud to partner with the Government of Laos to improve the health of people with disabilities, provide economic opportunities and facilitate dialogue on policies that impact people with disabilities,” said Mr. Ronning.
The celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a meaningful event to promote disability inclusive policies so that no person is left behind and celebrates persons with disabilities in Laos.