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WeThe15 launches for disabled awareness

picture of a street with the slogan #Wethe15 printed across it
picture of a street with the slogan #Wethe15 printed across it Image credit: news.sky.com

A new campaign has been launched which aims to end discrimination towards people with disabilities by 2030.

The WeThe15 initiative also wants to improve disabled awareness and inclusion for thousands of disabled people around the globe.

With the Paralympic Games starting in a few days’ time on Tuesday August 24 the World Health Organization, who are behind the project, have joined forces with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Disability Alliance.

Also on board are the UN Human Rights commission and The Valuable 500 supporting the global project which aims to "raise awareness, change attitudes and create more opportunities" for people with disabilities.

On Thursday 125 landmarks including New York’s Empire State Building, Moscow’s Ostankino Tower and the London Eye turned purple, online platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat added purple filters and a 90-second-film premiered on TV around the world to mark the launch of WeAre15,

President of the IPC, Andrew Parsons, said: "[The project] aims to put disability right at the heart of the inclusion agenda, alongside ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

"I strongly believe WeThe15 could be a real game-changer."

Over the next 10 years the campaign will focus on different “pillars” to improve a greater equal opportunity for disabled people.

This year WeThe15 will concentrate on people with disabilities receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations, in the lead up to the LA Paralympics in 2028 the campaign is expected to turn focus on disabled actors trying to make their name in Hollywood ensuring roles of disabled characters go to people with disabilities.

Research from the IPC shows 85% of disabled people live in poverty, around 50% are out of work and 75% of countries have no law in place to protect them.

Parsons said: "We want to tackle employment, we want to tackle mobility.

"Of course it will be different country-to-country. This is why we will need the local presence there to understand the challenges and that's why it's a 10-year campaign. We're trying to cover all basis and all nations."

The Invictus Games, which was launched for injured servicemen and women in 2014, is part of the IPC.

Prince Harry, the Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, said: "One of the reasons why I was inspired to create the Invictus Games was to help destigmatise physical and invisible injuries and give the men and women who have experienced them a platform to show the world that they and we can accomplish anything, when we put our mind to it. Everybody at the Invictus Games Foundation is honoured to join the WeThe15 campaign and believe in its mission to inspire meaningful change in communities around the world."

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: "WeThe15 is bringing together a unique group of partners... to work together to change the narrative on disability, and to make human rights-based development a reality for persons with disabilities."

The European Commission and several human rights groups also back the WeThe15 campaign.