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Disability is a global concern. According to the World Report on Disability 2011, 10 to 15 per cent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability as a result of ageing, the rise in non-communicable and chronic diseases and road traffic accidents. Although persons with disabilities are an integral part of societies, their needs are largely overlooked by policymakers and persons with disabilities deserve a more prominent position in public life.
Persons with disabilities need a supportive social and physical environment to lead a normal life. Persons in wheelchairs are able to work productively and integrate into social life if barriers in offices, public spaces and transport systems are removed. Blind people are able to read and write with Braille. Sports are an excellent platform to empower persons with disabilities and promote their inclusion. The extraordinary achievements of persons with disabilities in sports are widely respected.
Given the right opportunities, persons with disabilities have a lot to offer. Ultimately they are part of the entire diversity of life. Mainstreaming their needs will encourage communities and production processes to be more people-centred. To support persons with disabilities and the unique challenges they face, more attention must be given to promoting a healthy lifestyle and an enabling environment.