International Day of Persons with Disabilities: What Is It and How to Get Involved

A woman with an artificial arm, she may be thinking about IDPWD

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023 (IDPWD) will take place on 3 December this year. Often just called Disability Day, it’s a day recognised by the United Nations to raise awareness and get support for the rights and well-being of people living with disability all over the world.

With this year’s theme focused on achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we’ve rounded up the IDPWD events happening Australia, as well as ways to get involved.

Three women in wheelchairs around a table, talking about International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023

What is International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023?

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an annual event that aims to help people better understand disability issues. It’s also to push for the inclusion of people living with disability in all aspects of society, including in education, jobs, and social activities.

On this day, we celebrate the achievements and contributions of people living with disability. We also shine a light on the challenges they still face. These challenges can include things like discrimination, problems with accessibility, and not getting the same opportunities as others.

IDPWD is intended to be a wake-up call for governments, organisations, and the public to work together to make the world more inclusive and fair for everyone.

Every year, the United Nations picks a theme to focus on a particular aspect of disability rights and inclusion. The day also gives people living with disability a chance to share their stories and experiences in an effort to break down stereotypes and misunderstandings.

What is the theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023?

The theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2023 is “United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with and by persons with disabilities”.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 objectives that countries aim to achieve by 2030 to improve global conditions. The inclusion of people living with disability in this effort and ensuring their significant participation in shaping outcomes are central to this theme​.

It also emphasises the collective effort needed to address and achieve the SDGs. Essentially, it’s a call for everyone to work together to create a world that’s fairer and better for all.

Writes the UN: “Most often, in moments of crisis, people in vulnerable situations such as persons with disabilities are the most excluded and left behind. In line with the central premise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ‘leave no one behind’, it is crucial for governments, public and private sectors to collaboratively find innovative solutions for and with persons with disabilities to make the world a more accessible and equitable place.”

Here is last year’s address:

IDPWD activities in Australia

At the time of writing, here are some of the organised events and activities that will be celebrating International Day of People with Disability in 2023. Please note that details are subject to change, dates and times for all these events can be found here:


  • IDPwD Stawell: An event led by the Western Victoria Peer Action Group, focusing on information sharing and building.
  • Disability Pride in Frankston: Featuring performances, speakers living with disability, and a free BBQ lunch.
  • “Let’s All Move Together” in Keilor Downs: Offering a range of activities to enjoy the celebrations.

Western Australia

  • Great Southern Ability Festival in Albany: An inclusive and vibrant event.

South Australia

  • Free Fun Quiz & Emoji Bingo Night in Cowandilla: Hosted by the SA Council on Intellectual Disability and the City of West Torrens.
  • “AMPLIFY! 2023” in Netley: Showcasing new works by performers of No Strings Attached.

New South Wales

  • Trivia Day in Singleton Heights: Celebrated at the Singleton Heights Sports Centre.
  • VR and Sausage Sizzle in Singleton: An opportunity to try Virtual Reality and enjoy a sausage sizzle.


  • All Access Day at the Beach in Mooloolaba: Featuring activities like kite flying, seated Zumba, and bocce on the beach.
young man in brown jacket looks at and hold the hand of a happy senior man in a brown jacket in a wheelchair

How you can get involved

Apart from attending or volunteering for any events listed above, there are many ways to get involved this IDPWD. As a person living with disability, your involvement in the International Day of Persons with Disabilities can be particularly powerful and meaningful.

Here are some ways you can participate:

Share your story

Your personal experiences are valuable and can help others understand the realities of living with disability. You can do this through blogs (read our article on wheelchair travel blogs), social media, speaking at events, or simply in conversation. Friends, family, work colleagues and more are sure to have an open ear.

Join online communities

There are many online platforms and communities where you can connect with others, share experiences, and find support. Participating in these communities can also keep you informed about events and advocacy opportunities.

Participate in virtual events

Look for virtual events related to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. These might include webinars, workshops, or online discussions where you can learn, contribute, and connect with others.

Advocate for change

Use your unique perspective to advocate for changes in policies, accessibility, and attitudes. This could be through writing, speaking, or participating in advocacy groups or campaigns.

Volunteer your skills

If you have specific skills or talents, consider offering them to organisations or groups focusing on disability rights and support. This could be through writing, accessible art, technical skills, or any other area where you can contribute.

Create or join a support group

Starting or joining a support group for individuals with similar disabilities can be a great way to offer and receive support. It allows you to share information, and foster a sense of community.

Educate others

As someone with first-hand experience, you can play a vital role in educating others about disabilities. This could be through informal discussions, participating in educational sessions, or creating informative content.

Participate in research and surveys

Your input in research and surveys related to disabilities (read about our Invisible Disabilities Week Survey, for example) can provide valuable insights that help shape better policies, services, and understanding of disability issues.

Two people working out with ropes in a gym to promote inclusivity on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023 (IDPWD).

Insure your independence this International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023

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