What is DPI?
Disabled Peoples' lnternational (DPI) is the first successful effort of persons with disabilities to create an internationally united voice.
During a world congress of Rehabilitation International in Winnipeg,Canada, onJune 23, 1980, 250 persons with a wide variety of disabilitiesfrom 40 countries unanimously agreed on the need for a world coalition ofpersons with disabilities. An Ad Hoc Planning Committee was establishedto discuss the philosophy, organization and structure for a worldorganization. The Committee included representatives from both developedand developing countries. On June 25, the Committee presented itsfindings and struck a Steering Committee with two representatives eachfrom seven regions of the world. A year later, at its first World Congress inSingapore, Disabled Peoples' International was officially established.
A major goal of DPI is the full participation of all persons with disabilities inthe mainstream of life, particularly those in developing countries who formthe vast majority of the world's 650 million persons with disabilities. DPIrecognizes that poverty not only leads to disability, but also allows fewconcessions for the needs and aspirations of persons with disabilities. lnmany rural areas, where up to 80 per cent of the general population live,services are rare. Persons with disabilities are often excluded anddiscriminated against. Though DPI's goal of full participation is admittedly agoal of enormous proportions, it is one that has already been provenpossible.
Through its self-help development programs and projects worldwide, DPIhas sought and achieved a considerable increase in the participation ofpersons with disabilities in their own social and economic development, aswell as in that of their home countries. Today, the DPI cross-disabilitynetwork has 135 national members, over half of whom are in developing nations. Any organization controlled by persons with disabilities can be amember of the national assembly of that country.
DPI ensures equal representation of its members through a decentralizedregional structure, which also facilitates leadership and strategydevelopment at the local level. Through DPl, the voice of persons withdisabilities everywhere has already made a significant impact, not only asregards disability concerns, but also issues of justice, human rights, peaceand international development.
At the Centre of the name "Disabled Peoples' International" is the wordpeople. In fact, people are the centre of all activities that DPI undertakes.The yardstick for success is increasing opportunities for education, trainingand employment, as well as the adoption of legislation and policies infavour of persons with disabilities. DPI's success will only be completewhen women and men with disabilities enjoy the equal rights andopportunities of their fellow citizens.
DPI's motto is "A voice of our own".DPI believes that persons with disabilities should participate directly indialogue and decision-making processes that affect the lives of personswith disabilities. DPI leaders have lobbied for the support of nearly all themajor government development agencies, and have had regular meetingswith leading United Nations (UN) officials, including the Secretaries-General and the High Commissioners for Human Rights. DPI has alsoworked with the World Banks and other multinational aid and developmentagencies.
The following are some highlights ofDPI's achievements since 1980.These successes are replicated and built upon on a daily basis by thecontinuing work of DPI regions.1980s.
© DPI-E 2007