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December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) which aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities with the theme 'Building Back Better: towards a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World'

This year's regional celebration on IDDP was organised by the Pacific Disability Forum in partnership with the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and the United Nations Office over a series of activities. In light of this, UNFPA Pacific launched the Women with Disabilities Dignity Kit at the event this morning. In 2019, through the Asia Pacific Regional Prepositioning Initiative, supported by the Australian Government, UNFPA in partnership with the Pacific Disability Forum and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), have created a unique partnership- to pursue an inclusive humanitarian response to the needs of women and girls with disability and women and girls more broadly. "The Women with Disabilities Dignity Kit customised to the Pacific is one of the meaningful achievement of this partnership," said UNFPA Pacific's Humanitarian Specialist, Ana Maria Leal. She said around 1.7 million people in the Pacific live with a disability, and a significant proportion of these are between the ages of 10 and 24. Yet young people with disabilities are often invisible in statistics, excluded from education and health services, and discriminated against in their own communities.

She further added that at UNFPA, we believe that it is very important to ensure that persons with disabilities - both in development and humanitarian action - are empowered to make decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health and rights and are able to live free of discrimination and violence.

UNFPA pledges to keep innovating, advocating, and pushing to ensure that persons with disabilities everywhere are fully aware of and able to exercise their rights; to access sexual and reproductive health information, education and services; and to live free of violence and discrimination. Together, we can build a more inclusive world where the beauty and brilliance of difference is celebrated and where every person’s potential is fulfilled.

What are Dignity Kits:
• During times of natural disaster, women, young women and adolescent girls may have fled their homes with little or no belongings in order to reach safety.
• Both during flight and during displacement, they are at increased levels of vulnerability as a result of gendered norms and a breakdown in usual social protection mechanisms
• More specifically, women and girls do not often have clothes, appropriate clothing, or sanitary products, including menstrual health items, to be able to access basic services and humanitarian assistance, which exacerbates existing vulnerabilities.
• Dignity Kits provide women and girls with a range of essential hygiene and sanitation items including clothing, sanitary pads, soap and underwear to ensure that they maintain their dignity in crisis, are able to access humanitarian assistance and are less vulnerable to GBV. The kits also contain protection items such as flashlights and whistles that can make women feel more secure when staying in a temporary shelter.
• Dignity Kits provide a key entry point to the community of women and girls in crisis to understand their needs, concerns and vulnerabilities as well as serving as an opportunity to deliver messages around service delivery points for health and GBV as well as prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.