Are the current speech and language therapy provisions adequate for children with Down syndrome?

Toni Severin (ACT): “I’m not 100% sure, and I’ve got to be honest with that, but I know in general, there is a shortage to get kids in, and it doesn’t matter if you have Down syndrome or are just having problems with speech. It’s just having enough people out there, which is a huge thing that we’re missing is a lot of qualified people.”

Jan Logie (Greens): “I think there should be the appropriate services for every kid in terms of being able to fully participate – so I think that means no!”

Maureen Pugh (National): “I have to be honest because I don’t know what the service looks like right now. I think the people with the best knowledge about these things are the people that work in it and use it. If we were going to make any decisions about that we would rely on the conversations happening between the users and the providers. I know that there is huge demand and probably not enough resource across all speech therapy, not just in the Down syndrome sector. We all know that more would be better, but we’ve got to be able to find better ways of providing services that don’t just keep requiring more and more money to be thrown at it when we can possibly find other ways. I will be guided by the advice of people involved in that. It’s a responsibility that we hold as policy makers to make sure that we’re not simply announcing funding for these things but we’re actually supporting the sectors to resource it.”

Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Labour): “I know that children with Down syndrome can benefit greatly from speech therapy in terms of addressing communication and swallowing delay and difficulties as well. I understand that it’s currently recognised as a skills shortage in New Zealand and that Government is working to encourage skilled SLTs from overseas to work here. The child development services provided through Whaikaha are going through an improvement programme at the moment, looking at what new funding models might be developed and what service pathways may be needed to be able to meet that demand. The shift toward Enabling Good Lives and the increased flexibility of services, will enhance the use of personal budgets for children to be able to access SLT. There is acknowledgement that things are tough in that space and demand has increased but there’s a range of things we’re doing to address it.”

How do you feel about the removal of the $5 co-payment for prescriptions?

Toni Severin (ACT): “It doesn’t add up. We do know that people are struggling to fill prescriptions. But we also know that there’s a lot of people that then pick and choose what prescriptions they do fill in general. So, it will help some but it’s about targeting the right people.”

Jan Logie (Greens): “While I’m really excited about removing prescription fees, I’m concerned there hasn’t been anything put in place to protect people’s access to Disability Allowance, Child Disability Allowance and Temporary Accommodation Service as a result of these add-ons with Work and Income, because it may mean that in effect for people and families that are impacted by our disabling society or have health needs, that it’s government giving with one hand and taking with another.”

Maureen Pugh (National): “We didn’t support it for a range of reasons. It’s not targeted, so it means that everybody has the benefit of prescription charges taken off. But the reality is that there are places now that don’t charge those $5 fees anyway. Community card holders and people who are high use, so that use $100 or more, don’t pay after that. When you’re on a high, high lot of medication, it doesn’t take long for that $100 to ramp up. But there are people who don’t mind paying that because the medication in this country, most of it is still available free of charge. We just thought that people who possibly still can afford to pay for it should be paying for it. And those in need should be the people who have that subsidy applied [to them].”

Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Labour): “That is an initiative in Budget ’23 that I’m really excited about. It sounds like a small initiative, but it’s pretty powerful. We know that in the last year 135,000 adults didn’t pick up their prescription because of the payment. This is an initiative that helps people stay healthier, then also that further downstream helps prevent additional costs to our health system, and it levels the playing field for community pharmacies as well. For disabled people, we know that because it’s often per medication rather than per script [that the $5 co-pay is applied to] it’s a cumulative saving. I am aware that through the Disability Allowance, some would have been able to access funding to cover prescription costs but that’s not everybody within the disability community. So, I do think it’s one that will particularly benefit disabled people if they are needing to access more medications.”

What should be top of mind for the Down syndrome community when it comes to the 2023 Election?

Toni Severin (ACT): “My biggest thing is for people to vote on the principles and values around the parties that they align with, and their beliefs as well. And, you know, we all want the party vote, so I’d like them to give it to ACT. But the biggest thing of all, for any group, is not go for what we call the lolly scramble policies, where different political parties will throw out titbits to try to attract you. Because, in general, what’s good for New Zealand is good for everybody.”

Jan Logie (Greens): “For me it’s about voting for a party that you believe is going to work to create the inclusive society where everyone in the whānau has the chance to thrive. Looking at what different policies there are and how they will work towards that end. I’m still a Green in terms of where we are at in the world with climate change and climate action. I don’t think we can separate those things. If we’re to be able to be settled and have hope, it’s about doing all of those things.”

Maureen Pugh (National): “My first reaction is to be really supportive of my own party of course, it is that time! But I think if anyone has any knowledge of the social investment approach that was developed by Bill English when he was Prime Minister… that is the National Party’s philosophy that we live by. We need to invest in social support, and we need to do it up front in a really considered way. So, we see that when we talk about social investment for our young people who are finding themselves in trouble. We’ve announced military-style academies because a lot of these kids now are leaving school unable to read and write. We need intensive wrap-around care for them, so they come out being able to make meaningful contributions to society in terms of their own families, their workplace because they need to be in work, and also their community. So, when people are voting they need to look behind the short-term lolly-scrambles that happen and look at the long-term, not only for individuals and communities, but New Zealand as a whole. More than any other time in history we can look at this at how we are pulling apart at the seams at the moment. There has never been a more important time to think about how we stitch ourselves back together as communities and as a nation. And hopefully when people are making their choices, they share that philosophy.” 

Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Labour): “At the start of this conversation Sarah you mentioned Easy Read voting guides, to enable people to participate and exercise their democratic right to vote, and I think that’s exactly what everyone should be mindful of, or aware of, that they have a right to vote and that this is how our democracy is strengthened. The other things I would say is that we’ve taken a number of steps towards ensuring disability communities have greater choice and control over their decision making but there’s still so much more we need to do in that space and working towards a society that is inclusive. There is political will to do that and I would encourage everyone to bear that in mind as they vote.”

Siblings together

We’ll probably never know for sure, but Shona suspects that her little brother, Roderick, might be the oldest person with Down syndrome in Aotearoa. Shona was two when Roderick was born, and the two have now been blessed with 75 years (and counting) of a loving sibling relationship which has helped shape the lives of many other families as well as their own, through the pioneering work of Hōhepa, which came about because of Roderick’s birth.

Shona and Roderick Stronach were born in the 1940s, and spent their early years with their parents and older twin sisters, Marian and Marjorie, on the wild and rugged Highcliff area of the Otago Peninsula, where the family had a clifftop farm. Shona only has vague memories of Roderick crawling along the passageways of that home, as both were still quite small when the family relocated to the gentler vicinity of Tomohawk Lagoon. 

“We bordered that lagoon and we had a wonderful life,” Shona recalls. “And of course there are a lot of stories about Roderick’s adventures there! He was a great one to run away. Once, we couldn’t find him and our mother found him right down the bottom of the next-door paddock – he was under the legs of a bull!”

It was a large family home, and Shona and Roderick spent much of their time playing together there. 

“We had this big veranda and we had this four-wheel jigger thing that I used to push him in. We created ghost trains and things like that,” Shona laughed as she recalled these early years together. “I was obviously a fairly helpful caregiver in terms of entertainment! Those were lovely memories.”

Shona can’t recall any negative attitudes towards Roderick – only the care of the neighbours. She also can’t remember her parents discussing the fact that Roderick had Down syndrome with her, or that she had much consciousness of it at all until the age of about 12.

“I do remember at early adolescence being self-conscious and realising he was different, and having to really grow to accommodate that over, maybe two or three years coming to terms with it.”

From his youngest years, Roderick possessed a friendly, warm, and radiant nature. “At family picnics you’d look around and say ‘Where’s Roderick?’ and he’d be off with the next group saying “I know you!” That’s lasted his lifetime those words – ‘I know you!’ – and that lovely friendliness and warmth.”

At that time, integrated or mainstream schooling weren’t options for Roderick, and so from the ages of seven to about ten, he attended Sarah Cohen School in Dunedin, a school established for pupils with special needs in 1926 that is still going strong today. Roderick was not academic, and though he learned some letters there he never became fully literate. 

In the background of the family’s lives, since the time of Roderick’s birth, their aunt, Marjorie Allan, had been pursuing ambitious goals that were inspired by her new nephew. At the time, Marjorie was overseas in London studying the work of Rudolph Steiner. When Roderick came along, she decided to move into training for therapeutic education and social therapy for people with intellectual disabilities based on Rudolph Steiner.  

Waipatiki picnic

“When Roderick was born she came back to meet him, then she returned to Europe and trained in the various Rudolph Steiner curative and therapeutic homes and schools where that work was developed and gathered up as much experience as she could. And then in 1956 she came back and toured New Zealand and lectured about the work, needing funds of course. When she was in Hawke’s Bay, a farmer called Lew Harris who had an intellectually disabled daughter, came forward and really wanted to help with the work, and was a really generous benefactor and donor.”

Thanks to Lew Harris (later Sir Harris), in 1957 the very first Hōhepa building was erected in Poraiti in the Hawke’s Bay, and became a residential school, initially for only nine children. One year later, a ten-year-old Roderick joined Hōhepa. After a short time in the school, he moved on to the newly acquired farm property in Clive, where he was to spend the next six decades of his life. 

Two years after Roderick made the move to Hawke’s Bay, Shona and her mother followed, their father having passed away. 

“My mother, Mary Stronach, took on the management and care of the house with the children and that freed up my aunt to concentrate on the valuable teaching and therapeutic work. My mother had a very important role holding the whole management together in terms of practicalities. She was good value! I went to Napier Girls High School but I lived there [at Hōhepa]. So it was an interesting time!” 

By this stage there were about 24 children, living in dormitories of six to eight, each cared for by women known as ‘dormitory mothers’. Though he was now living at the farm in Clive, Shona and her mother were thrilled to be reunited with both Roderick and Marjorie.

“You have your own life too by that age, so it was an interesting transition, but I was always very grateful for what I learned and received through Hōhepa. As a teenager you don’t always recognise it at the time! But I mean really it was wonderful. I got a chance to be one of the dormitory mothers on the weekend and I began to take responsibility which is good for teenagers.”

Once at the farm, Roderick initially lived at the main house and underwent some transitional schooling, alongside craft work, music, and therapies. At the beginning of his teens, he went to live at Anyon House, one of several small houses for around half a dozen residents at a time. At about this time, his mother and aunt purchased a beach house at Waipatiki that was to become a second home for the family.

“We’d all be there for weekends or holidays and my sisters would come down too. So this beach at Waipatiki was very special and a lot of the people who worked at Hōhepa shared that as well.”

Over the next sixty years, Roderick moved through various stages of life at the farm, always directed by his preferences and aspirations.

“He moved himself through his life stages at the farm, he was a farmer and a gardener, and used to get the milk and work the cows. Then he moved into the workshops and did woodwork and then there was the copper workshop. Each time he would let people know he wanted to move on.”

Highcliff farm

As he got older, Roderick struggled with the noise of the copper workshops, having never liked loud sounds. He chose to move on to the candle workshop, before eventually selecting what he termed ‘Quiet Care’ – the retirement home section of the Hōhepa community where he still lives. Though he has many interests, two in particular stand out to Shona that he’s been able to enjoy more, once moving into retirement.

“He carries an enormous interest of the officialdom of all the meetings that he’d been to with my aunt and the Trust Board and conferences. That was in him, and he’d take his bundles of papers and do his office work. In 2018, he was given honorary life membership to the Hōhepa Homes Trust Board.”

The other great love of Roderick’s life has been classical music – unsurprising when considering both his mother and aunt began their careers as music teachers before the Hōhepa journey began.

“He always wanted to be a conductor, if there were any musicians around or bands at the fair or anything, he would be up there conducting and he was good too. Music was one of his real loves and he still has that.”

Now an “elderly and distinguished gentleman”, for the past year or so, Roderick has been unable to weight bear, and prefers to spend most of his time in his room. “But he’s still very present. I was there last week and we had such a good time – the cat had got up on the arm of his chair and was determined to interject in our conversations. It was lovely, Roderick was right on the ball. But then the next day he was just so tired.”

Although less physically capable, Roderick’s mind is unaffected by dementia, and he retains the ability to “just radiate” that Shona recalls characterising him from his infancy.

“He never had any shyness. He would just go up to people. His “I know you”, that was to strangers, but people he knew he would say ‘Are you happy?’ He’s 75 and that’s the main thing that he says now – ‘Are you happy?’. It was like, when you reach out to somebody you’re telling them that you recognise them. So that’s followed him all his life. He has a lot of humour and I think I played up a lot with that too in terms of the fun and the games and the songs, you know. Even now he’s not so capable but he can come up with some incredible humour. He’s got a twinkle in his eye behind what he’s saying.”

Recent chat

Shona lives in Christchurch now, but the siblings have never stopped seeing each other multiple times a year, and their bond is indelibly strong. “When we’re together there’s no barriers between us, we’ve got a good rapport.” 

Just as Roderick’s arrival started her mother and aunt on an extraordinary journey that would ultimately found the beloved Hōhepa organisation, so too was Roderick always a part of Shona’s life pathways.

“As a 5-year-old I announced I wanted to be a children’s nurse when I grew up. And that resolve followed and shaped my career decisions throughout my life. I trained as a nurse and stayed close to the work with children. I lived up in Hawke’s Bay for ten years and for a good six of those I was working as a community nurse at Hōhepa.  I think the care model which surrounded Roderick very much influenced the course of my life.”

Today, Hōhepa has branches in Canterbury, Auckland, and Wellington, as well as the original community in the Hawke’s Bay incorporating both the original school community at Poraiti, and the 50-acre Clive farming and workshop community where Roderick lives. 

“Some might say that Hōhepa is an institution but it’s not. It’s a community of people and wonderful people that come and go from all over the world… The essence of Hōhepa is community and it still is, it’s not institutionalising. I know Hōhepa’s had to work very creatively to retain community but also to be out in the wider community. It has widened its web but it hasn’t lost its community sense.”

It’s a community – and now series of communities – that have made an immense difference to so many lives: residents, students, staff, volunteers, and Trustees, and without Roderick Stronach, who knows if it would have ever come to pass? Shona speaks with an incredible warmth, respect, and love for her mother and aunt, and for the many others who have worked to continue their legacy at Hōhepa. But most of all, her affection shines through when she speaks about her brother.

“I hope I’ve given you a reasonable picture of somebody who is very special.”

 

Breakfast TV’s John Campbell did a wonderful segment for World Down Syndrome Day interviewing Lily Harper and NZDSA National Executive Zandra Vaccarino.

Media release – World Down Syndrome Day highlights barriers to full inclusion

New Zealanders with Down syndrome continue to face unsurmountable barriers stopping them from being fully included in their community.
“The reality for people with Down syndrome in 2022, is that they still face daily battles to fully participate and contribute to society,” says Zandra Vaccarino, the National Executive of the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA).
The global theme for this year’s World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), on March 21, is #Inclusion Means.
“The theme was chosen to make people consider and understand what full inclusion actually means,” says Vaccarino.
“Inclusion can mean a lot of different things for people with Down syndrome, but also for the people around them. What inclusion looks like should always be considered in the human rights framework and then one should explore how one can be inclusive in all aspects of life including employment, education, sport, arts, community participation and social events.”
Vaccarino says that by signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, New Zealand has obligations to uphold the intent of the UNCRPD but this has not translated into full community participation, or the privileges and rights other Kiwi citizens may take for granted.
“Inclusion is not just having people with Down syndrome present in our schools, our streets or our malls. It means that we need to give them equitable access, so they have real access and support where needed to fully participate in all parts of our society,” says Vaccarino, who hopes that this year’s campaign will encourage New Zealanders to take stock and see how they can better include people with Down syndrome in their schools, work places, sports teams and social events.
This year, Covid 19 restrictions have again stopped Down syndrome groups around the country from hosting their usual WDSD celebrations, so the NZDSA has pulled together a mega-online community event, The Big Connect, which on Monday night will host a who’s-who from the disability sector.
The Big Connect will be opened by the Minister for Disability Issues, the Honourable Carmel Sepuloni, before she hands the stage to the President of Down Syndrome International, Bridget Snedden, and Paula Tesoriero, the Disability Rights Commissioner.
Snedden and Tesoriero will then be part of an intriguing panel of high-profile experts and advocates around human rights, education, employment, sports and arts to discuss the WDSD theme #Inclusion Means.
Vaccarino says that Covid restrictions last year forced the NZDSA to come up with the first Big Connect, which turned out to be a huge success.
“Last year, over 100 families from all over the country joined us and they were all really excited about being connected.
“People with disabilities are often more isolated than others during the pandemic, so we really hope that we get an even bigger turnout this year.”
“We are incredibly proud and grateful to host such an amazing group to share their ideas and experiences around inclusion and we hope the discussion will be an inspiration for people with Down syndrome and the wider community,” says Vaccarino.

For more information, contact Zandra Vaccarino on 021-1587150.

You do not want to miss New Zealand’s biggest Down syndrome video call on March 21.

The theme of this year’s World Down Syndrome Day, is “What does inclusion mean?” which we would also like to expand to” What do I want in the future?”.

This year the NZDSA is calling on you to tell us what inclusion means to you or what you want for your future.

We invite people with Down syndrome, their whānau, carers, support people and anyone else in our community to share with us your thoughts and aspirations — this could be by sending us a video, a written message, a photograph or even a drawing!

We will be sharing your stories on social media over the next three weeks and asking a few of you to speak at The Big Connect.

You can send the NZDSA messages on Facebook or email us at [email protected]

While our people are spread throughout all corners of Aotearoa and unable to connect in person, we believe The Big Connect will be a great way to celebrate our community and ensure we are all together to celebrate World Down syndrome Day.

The Big Connect is Back – Monday 21st March 2022 at 7pm

In 2021, the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association hosted the first BIG CONNECT, the country’s largest zoom call, to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. Join us on Monday the 21st March at 7pm for another star-studded zoom event as we explore Inclusion means# the 2022 theme for World Down Syndrome Day.

Topic:     Big Connect

Date:    21 March 2022

Time:    07:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 9763 8020

Passcode: 988116

Other Online Events to Mark World Down Syndrome Day

Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder – A dual diagnosis. Thursday 24th March at 7pm 

This session will include the launch of a new digital resource “Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder”.  This digital resource is presented by Geraldine (Dina) Whatnell and she provides an overview, offers information, shares insights and demonstrates best practice when supporting people with Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This online session will also include a Q&A time with Geraldine.

Geraldine Whatnell is the Nurse Practitioner Mental Health and Addictions Service, Palmerston North Hospital. Geraldine brings with her nearly forty years of professional skills and knowledge in the specialist area of developmental disabilities (intellectual disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder) and mental health.

Topic: Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder – A dual diagnosis

Date:   24 March, 2022

Time: 07:00 PM Auckland, Wellington

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 9318 1571

Passcode: 034268

Writer/director Linda Niccol is delighted to have her feature film Poppy selected for the 28th edition of Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January and regrets that COVID travel restrictions will prevent her from donning her snow-boots and attending in person.

Linda joins a range of illustrious Slamdance alumni who had early films selected by the festival including Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Rian Johnson (Knives Out), Ari Aster (Midsommer), Lena Dunham (Girls), Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) and Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk).

Slamdance self describes as anti-algorithm. It’s a festival “by filmmakers for filmmakers” known for challenging the status quo, for discovering overlooked talent and unique voices.

Poppy was selected from the over 1500 feature films submitted this year. It will feature in the small Unstoppable selection.

Slamdance President and co-founder Peter Baxter identifies a focus this year on “storytellers who are changing the media narrative and elevating the art of independent film “. The Slamdance Unstoppable section is programmed by alumni with visible and non-visible disabilities – an initiative “aiming to eliminate prejudices and gate-keeping that have historically kept disabilities from being represented in the entertainment industry”.

Poppy is played by Libby Hunsdale. Her portrayal of a young woman with Down syndrome who takes control of her life in order to follow her dreams, has been singled out for praise – as has her onscreen chemistry with fellow performers Ari Boyland, Seb Hunter and Kali Kopae.

Poppy was filmed in Kāpiti in 2020 (before and after lockdown) and released in New Zealand cinemas this year where it enjoyed a 14-week release and a 4-week slot in the top 10 at the box office.

It is produced by Robin Laing and Alex Cole-Baker and funded by the New Zealand Film Commission’s 125 Fund (celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage in NZ), by TVNZ, NZonAir, IHC Foundation and private philanthropic funders.

Poppy has previously screened at three international film festivals – CinefestOz, Cinemagic Belfast, and LAFemme where it was a finalist for Best Feature.

 

 

 

Many familiar faces in the Down syndrome community have been named as finalists in this year’s Attitude Awards to recognise their amazing achievements.

The Down syndrome community has been well presented in five different categories and the winners will be announced at a gala dinner on December 1.

The NZDSA congratulates all the nominees and wishes them all the best for the awards ceremony.

The nominees from the Down syndrome community are:

Attitude Enterprise Award

Bradley Lewis from Invercargill runs his own business, K9 Munchies, making dog treats. Selling online and locally in Invercargill, Bradley is looking to expand his brand nationally to continue the journey to his own financial freedom.

Attitude Youth Award

Luka Willems is on his way to becoming an influencer in his community, to inspire and encourage others. He’s a YouTuber with some of his work being used by local and international Down Syndrome Associations and he represents Canterbury as a Para swimmer.

Attitude Creative Award

Carlos Biggemann is an internationally recognised photographer, who also writes poetry. He’s collaborated with 14 poets to create a book featuring his photography.

Lily Harper’s big passion is acting, recently taking on the lead role in “Up Town Girl”, performing in Palmerston North and Wellington. The show won three awards, with Lily taking the “emerging actor in a play” award.

Attitude Sporting Endeavour Award

Alfie Linn is a popular competitor in the Table Tennis community, and has represented New Zealand at international level. He loves feeling part of a team, is a great sportsman and his attitude to others, no matter who they are, is fair and just and he loves competing at all levels. 

Attitude Community Champion Award

Sarah Ferens as a teenager started a weekly social group for young people with Down syndrome, to help her sister Emma make friends. Using her disability knowledge, she created ‘A Family Collective’ which supports families and their young people to work and live independently.

 

Bridget Snedden from Auckland was last week recognised for her years of advocacy work around the world when she was elected as the new President of Down Syndrome International (DSi) at their 2021 Annual General Meeting.

“I am very humbled and proud to lead DSi Board of Trustees along with Vice President Rhonda Faragher from Queensland,” says Bridget who been a Trustee of DSi since 2008 and in recent years filled the role of Vice-President.

Bridget has been heavily involved in the Down syndrome movement at a local, national and international level since her son Alex was born in 1988.

After first joining her local Auckland association for support, she found herself on the Auckland committee a few years later.

At a meeting at the IHC office in Wellington, she met Cindy Johns where they hatched a plan and approached JB Munro to support them in rebuilding the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association, which at that stage was in abeyance and needed a new impulse.

The NZDSA was soon re-established and from 1993 until 2000, Bridget acted as the Executive Officer of the NZDSA.

The new DSi Presidents lives by the motto “You breathe, You belong” and is driven by her commitment to social justice.

“I believe that every New Zealander has the same right to live and enjoy life like their neighbours and friends,” says Bridget, who has had significant experience across the disability sector in both governance and delivery.

Bridget says she is proud to have been able to contribute to the change that many families of disabled children have made, so that their children can live a good life.

NZDSA National Executive Officer Zandra Vaccarino says Bridget’s appointment is a wonderful recognition for the work she has done for the Down syndrome community in New Zealand and abroad.

“Bridget has been a driving force behind the NZDSA for many years, and the wider Down syndrome community in New Zealand and abroad, so I think we can all feel very proud to have one of our own community leading the amazing work DSi does all over the world to improve the life of people with Down syndrome,” says Vaccarino.

 

 

 

Launching at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, WeThe15 plans to initiate change over the next decade by bringing together the biggest coalition ever of international organisations from the world of sport, human rights, policy, communications, business, arts and entertainment.

At a time when diversity and inclusion are hot topics, the 15% who have a disability want effective change to remove the inequality and inactivity. Like race, gender and sexual orientation, we want to have a movement all persons with disabilities can rally behind. A global movement that is publicly campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion and accessibility.

WeThe15 will shine a light on 15% of the world’s population. It will build greater knowledge of the barriers and discrimination persons with disabilities face on a daily basis at all levels of society. By doing so we will break down these barriers so all persons with disabilities can fulfil their potential and be active and visible members of an inclusive society.

For more information go to: www.wethe15.org