Child listening to headphones responding to a question

What is disability?

People with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental and intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

How many people are there with disabilities?

There are estimated to be over one billion people living with a disability, although reliable prevalence data are currently lacking. This corresponds to 15% of the world’s population.

Who is most vulnerable to disability?

Disability is more common among women, older people and households that are poor.

How does disability impact on people’s lives?

People with disabilities are often excluded from education and employment leading to an increased risk of poverty. People with disabilities often have higher health care needs, but may find it more difficult to access relevant services. They may also face difficulties being included in other aspects of society.

These exclusions are contrary to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which calls upon all countries to respect and ensure the equal rights and participation of all persons with disabilities to education, health care, employment and inclusion in all aspects of society.

Children playing      Peeling vegetables

Why is a focus on disability important?

The number of Persons with Disabilities worldwide is large and they are often the most marginalised and economically poorest people in any society. It may be difficult to achieve development goals without a focus on including people with disabilities. There is also a great lack of data on disability, and so more research is needed in this area.

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