Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, established in 1992 by the UN to raise awareness of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of disabled people. Disabled people have the right to the same access and opportunities that others enjoy. Disabled people still have to fight for basic needs to be met.
When I was Minister for Disabled People for four years between 2001 and 2005, I was particularly proud to have steered the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 into law. It gave full civil rights to disabled people for the first time. Things have gone backwards
This week I met with representatives from Leonard Cheshire, an organisation for disabled people with a long track record of supporting them in the UK and abroad. Their latest campaign is supporting disabled girls and women across Africa and Asia get access to education. Their aim is to break down the barriers to education faced by girls that are already far less likely to go to school than boys. The work they do is essential and I was pleased to offer my support.