International Service joins York community groups to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities 2016

Art inspired by our work promoting disability rights through sports is among the talents, experiences and stories of disability being shared at a special event in York on Saturday 3rd December.


There’ll be poetry, art, music and opportunities to get involved for all ages at York Explore, Museum Street, to mark United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.


There’s a chance to reflect on what disability means to those who experience it, including:

British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters will be available throughout the day.

handibikes pen and ink drawing women

Like this art? Email us about postcard sets and fine prints

The event is a joint effort between a range of community groups, local and international organisations, which aim to put disability issues – and the International Day of People with Disabilities – high on the agenda in York.

Jo Baker, CEO of International Service, explains: “This year’s theme is ‘Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want’, which draws attention to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and how these goals can create a more inclusive and equitable world for people with disabilities.  Too often, people with disabilities are excluded from development - they’re more likely to live in poverty, receive poor education and suffer the effects of climate change.”

From our work in West Africa, we know the challenges that face people with disabilities, but we also witness their tenacity and determination to lead full lives.”

Stephen Hodgkins, friend of the late York poet Barbara Stewart echoes this: “For Barbara, her disability was something she used as a resource, and a way of seeing the world. That’s what fuels a lot of her poetry – it’s honest and shocking and funny.  I hope this event will show that talking about disability isn’t just a negative thing.”

Ross, whose artwork will be displayed from 28th November, says: “In Burkina Faso, stigma and discrimination means many people live in poverty. My paintings celebrate the ways sport can help people get healthy and become part of their community.”

The event has been organised by members of York Explore, the York Independent Living Network, The York Human Rights City Network, and local international development charity, International Service.

The event begins from midday and lasts until 16:45.

Over a billion people have some form of disability – that’s about 15% of the global
population (WHO). 80% of those live in developing countries (UN).
Stigma and prejudice leave many people with disabilities in poverty, affecting every aspect of their life. In Burkina Faso, disability reduces the average lifespan by 12 years (UNICEF), while in Bolivia only 4% of people with disabilities receive the necessary health and social care (World Bank).
Many people with disabilities are denied their rights: the right to access health care, receive education, to make a fair living and to play a part in decisions which affect their lives.

From community engagement to vocational training, our partnerships are transforming the lives of people with disabilities so they can achieve their full potential.

Want to know more about our work promoting disability rights across the globe?

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handibike pen and ink drawing

blind running pen and ink drawing

Some of the work on display at York Explore

C International Service/Ross Georgeson