The Minister for the Presidency of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane wishes to mark the launch of the Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM) 2021, under the theme: The year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke – Create and achieve an inclusive society defending the rights of people with disabilities.

The United Nations (UN) has declared the theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) 2021 as “Leadership and participation of people with disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world”.

The DRAM 2021 campaign is observed from November 3, 2021 to December 3, 2021 and the campaign culminates on December 3, 2021 which is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The launch of DRAM 2021 coincides with Local Government Election Week, and therefore, unlike in previous years, the launch will be heralded through media engagements during the week to draw attention to the work being done by the government throughout. throughout the year to promote the interests and rights of people. with disabilities.

Local elections allow all citizens to exercise their right to vote and have their interests represented in governance structures. This is especially important for people with disabilities who often feel their interests are being overlooked or ignored.

DRAM 2021 will focus on the following sub-themes which aim to focus conversations on the priority areas identified with the disability sector and also related to the seven government priorities:

Accelerate human dignity and learning environments for people with disabilities at all levels

Inclusive socio-economic empowerment of people with disabilities

Improved COVID-19 services including people with disabilities in all spheres of life

Recognize and celebrate the importance of the rights of persons with disabilities, the empowerment of women, gender equality and the elimination of GBV

Although our country has made progress since the advent of democracy, persons with disabilities continue to face a number of interrelated challenges in accessing their rights, including:

Social barriers such as lack of awareness of different types of disabilities within society, resulting in lack of acceptance of people with disabilities within communities; negative attitudes resulting from ignorance, misunderstanding and prejudices that prevent society from appreciating and experiencing the full potential that people with disabilities can realize.

Psychological barriers which are mainly informed by fears for their personal safety.

Structural barriers such as accessibility to facilities and infrastructure, lack of support services or technology, lack of availability of information in accessible formats and lack of reasonable accommodation in schools and workplaces.

The continued existence of discrimination and prejudice deprives people with disabilities of the opportunity to compete on an equal basis with others and to seize opportunities such as those identified in the NDP.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane calls on government, civil society and other sectors of our society to observe the DRAM 2021 campaign by highlighting efforts to move people with disabilities from the periphery by maximizing effortless access and participation in the formal education system, the traditional economy, the disruption reduce communication and related barriers, thus promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in all spheres of life.

The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has since launched the research report on the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities on October 11, 2021. The report examines the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities in South Africa.

The research study highlights the experiences of people with disabilities in relation to the following thematic areas: access to information, education, health, social services, safety and security, economic opportunities (employment and economic assistance measures), transport, consultation and participation, quarantine and isolation sites.

The report is accessible at:

You can also follow the conversation, contribute and share your experiences using the hashtag #DisabilityInclusiveSA and the tag @DWYPD_ZA

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