Providing Technology to the Disabled ― December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities with this year’s theme focusing on the enabling conditions envisaged in the 2030 Development Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In a time of rapid digitalization, technology provides innovative solutions for the disabled and according to the UN General Assembly: “Technology is an essential component that helps meet sustainable development goals for persons with disabilities and their full and effective participation in development. However too often, adaptation and dissemination of technological innovations are expensive or exclusive only widening the gap between those who can afford them and those who cannot.”
Over a billion people globally have some form of disability. That’s 15% of people alive today. Three hundred and sixty million people worldwide have moderate to profound hearing loss, 285 million people are visually impaired (39 million of whom are blind), 75 million people need a wheelchair (of which, only 5-15% actually have access to one).
According to Statistics MRC, the Global Disabled Technologies market is expected to reach $69.8 billion by 2022. Supportive government initiatives and development of products such as implants, wheel chairs, transfer lifts are some of the factors driving the market.
Technology can lower barriers that people with disabilities encounter in their daily lives, such as speaking, travelling, reading, and writing. It can allow them to participate and enjoy the benefits of the digital society, with the same access to information as everyone else. New technology can simply allow people with disabilities to act more independently from others if they wish (at the same time as connecting them with people around the world).
The exact number of people with disabilities in Indonesia is unclear however according to Population Health Basic Health Research (Riskesdas) the proportion of people with moderate and severe disabilities is approximately 11 percent of the total population yet it is estimated that number is likely higher.
The central government has stepped up its commitment for the disabled and in 2016 made a significant shift in the use of a human rights-based approach by passing a law on persons with disabilities. This marked a positive legal step by the government, having ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) in 2011.
For now, people with disabilities in Indonesia still have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, higher rates of poverty, and reduced access to employment and economic participation. It is important to examine on this year’s awareness day how social inclusion and human rights education are essential in Indonesia to create a fairer world for people with disabilities.
BIMC supports The Bali Sports Foundation, which according to the BSF site is: “a group of like minded people who believe in or have experienced the power of sport to bring about change in young, disabled persons.” Some of the BSF projects include: wheelchair racing and wheelchair rugby, blind soccer and blind judo, special needs swimming and other sports and activities inspired for a number of disabilities.