International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Olga acquired her physical-motor disability at the age of 13 due to muscular dystrophy, and since then, her wheelchair has become her ally. She has had to face social, attitudinal, architectural, and transport barriers that at certain times have hindered her full development and participation in social activities. All these challenges make her think that disability is not so much in the person but in the obstacles interfering with its independence and ability to function in society.
The UNDP-UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities was launched in January 2018. With a commitment to leave no one behind, it promotes the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce of the United Nations.
In 2019, 31 UN Volunteers with disabilities, including 15 deployed under the Talent Programme, served across the UN family. Many more UN Volunteers supported the provision of services to persons with disabilities.
As a UN Volunteer Disability Rights Officer with the Governance and Participation Unit of UNDP, I champion the rights of people with disabilities and act as a passionate voice for their support and inclusion.
Through my volunteer assignment I support and develop workplaces for people with disabilities. Fundamentally, my goal is to remove barriers to employability for disabled people in Belarus, by educating employers on how to create accessible and inclusive working environments.
Belarus signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September 2015 and committed to the creation of an inclusive community. Despite this undertaking, progress has been slow.
I was motivated to apply for the Talent Programme primarily because I was fascinated by the fact the UN is involving people with disabilities as volunteers to contribute to their country and community. The programme helps the inclusion of young people with disabilities in the workplace and offers valuable opportunities for professional development.
I serve as a UN Volunteer with UNDP, as part of the Armenia National SDG Innovation Lab, which supports the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country. I came to Armenia in February 2019 with high expectations, keen to learn more about data analysis and big data.
From my younger days, I had three dreams. One of them was to have the opportunity to work as a part of the UN System. Through the Youth Leads programme, I have now been able to achieve this. --UN Volunteer Kasunjith Satanarachchi
Since late 2016, UNV has been strengthening efforts to facilitate the intentional deployment of UN Volunteers with disabilities, and collaborate with UN and other partners on delivering results for persons with disabilities.
UN entities will not be able to fulfill their promise of leaving no one behind and promoting inclusion until persons with disabilities are fully represented among UN staff.
United Nations Volunteers, as a cross-cutting organization in the UN system, is very well placed to partner with UN entities with the aim at unlocking the potential of persons with disabilities to work for the Sustainable Development Goals.
When I was given the opportunity to come to Sudan as a UN Volunteer with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), many folks discouraged me, because of the hardship conditions.
I refused to listen to the naysayers and didn't hesitate to accept the offer. My whole life has been full of challenges and hardships, and so Darfur would be no different. I told them that I was willing and able!
My name is Mohammad Sarhan. I am a UN Volunteer working with the Communications and Information Technology Section (Human Resources) for the UNAMID.