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Every year since 1992, on 03 December, Rwanda joins the global community to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This annual observance of the IDPD was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3 to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. 

The IDPD commemoration is central to UNFPA efforts to promote the rights of Persons with Disabilities and to support them in their efforts towards a more inclusive, equal and violence free life. 

Under the theme: “Leadership and participation of Persons with Disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”, UNFPA continued in the march to uphold the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. This Monday 6th December 2021, UNFPA with support from the aid agency of the Republic of Korea, Korea International Cooperation Agency, handed over an assortment of menstrual health products to the Rwanda National Association of Deaf Women (RNADW). This activity is part of a week-long campaign conducted in Nyamasheke District, to mark the Disability Week, where RNADW engaged adolescent and youth with disabilities, their parents and community leaders  to discuss Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and to access Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights services and information. 

“UNFPA Rwanda & UN Rwanda Family are committed to support Persons with Disabilities. Thanks to the generous support of our partners, UNFPA maintains unwavering & long term commitment to rights & choices for all. Menstrual Health helps preserve the dignity of girls." Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah, UNFPA Representative to Rwanda. 

“I’m very happy for UNFPA for this support. This is the right path that you have taken as UNFPA to make sure that we do empower youth and women with disabilities. The support to mark the long week celebration of the International Day of persons with Disability was massive. We met parents, teachers, caretakers, leaders, and we talked to them about their responsibility on their children. Parents were surprised to see educated and successful women with hearing disabilities” Muhorakeye Pelagie, President of Board and Co-Founder of RNADW. 

This activity is part of a project  entitled “Empowering adolescents and young people in Rwanda to realize their human right to equality, sexual and reproductive health, and freedom from violence and discrimination,” also called the “Healthy & Empowered Youth Project.” The project aims at empowering young people, especially the most vulnerable, with the skills and knowledge to youth friendly services and information;   and is implemented with the generous support from KOICA Rwanda.

This year celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was an opportunity for community awareness raising around disability and sexual reproductive health and rights through community meetings and services delivery.