South Africa’s iconic FNB Stadium, which played host to the 2010 Fifa World Cup final, is among the 125 global landmarks that will be lit up purple to co-incide with the launch of WeThe15, which aspires to be the biggest ever human rights movement to represent the world’s 1.2-billion persons with disabilities.
Launched ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, WeThe15 aims to end discrimination towards persons with disabilities and act as a global movement publicly campaigning for disability visibility, accessibility, and inclusion.
Spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA), WeThe15 brings together the biggest-ever coalition ever of international organisations from the worlds of sport, human rights, policy, business, arts, and entertainment. Together they are working with governments, businesses, and the public over the next decade to initiate change for the world’s largest marginalised group who make up 15% of the global population.
The FNB Stadium joins other iconic landmarks include New York’s Empire State Building, Tokyo Skytree and Rainbow Bridge, Geneva’s Jet d’Eau, Moscow’s Ostankino Tower, Rome’s Colosseum, the London Eye and the Niagara Falls spanning Canada and the USA, to be lit up purple on Thursday 19 August.
This iconic 87 436-seater FNB Stadium is the largest venue in South Africa and the premier stadium in South Africa. The unique design of FNB Stadium is highly regarded internationally and is often fondly referred to as the “Calabash” or “African Pot” after being reconstructed to the tune of R3.3-billion in time for the first ever African World Cup in 2010.
Chef de Mission for Team SA at the Paralympics, Leon Fleiser, applauded the WeThe15 campaign. “The numbers speak for themselves with 15 percent of the world’s population affected by disabilities. As South Africans we have been progressive in taking the lead when it comes to our Para-athletes and Paralympians.
“Over the years the Paralympians have done the country proud and have achieved excellent results on the medals table. However, the WeThe15 campaign will do more than focus on one event (the Paralympics) that takes place every four years. The campaign will continue for the next 10 years and today marks an important milestone in the awareness for those who have disabilities.”
The WeThe15 campaign is harnessing sport’s unique ability to engage massive global audiences and create positive change.
The IPC, Special Olympics, Invictus Games Foundation and the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (Deaflympics) have teamed up for the first time in history. These four organisations are using the profile of their international sport events and athlete communities to further raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing persons with disabilities around the globe.
Joining the sport organisations in this decade of action are International Disability Alliance, UN Human Rights, UNESCO, the UN SDG Action Campaign, the European Commission, The Valuable 500, Global Citizen, Global Disability Innovation Hub, the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), International Disability and Development Consortium, C-Talent, Global Goals Advisory, ATscale – the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology, Zero Project, and the Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organisations (GAATO).
Aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, WeThe15 aims to change attitudes and create more opportunities by:
· Putting persons with disabilities at the heart of the diversity and inclusion agenda
· Implementing a range of activities targeting governments, businesses, and the public to drive social inclusion for persons with disabilities
· Breaking down societal and systemic barriers that are preventing persons with disabilities from fulfilling their potential and being active members of society
· Ensuring greater awareness, visibility, and representation of persons with disabilities
· Promoting the role of assistive technology as a vehicle to driving social inclusion
IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “WeThe15 aspires to be the biggest ever human rights movement for persons with disabilities and aims to put disability right at the heart of the inclusion agenda, alongside ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. By uniting several leading international organisations and the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities behind one common movement, we will make a tangible and well overdue difference for the planet’s largest marginalised group.
“Sport, and events such as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, are hugely powerful vehicles to engage global audiences. By partnering with Special Olympics, Invictus Games, and Deaflympics, there will be at least one major international sport event for persons with disabilities to showcase WeThe15 each year between now and 2030. These sports events add great value to the campaign and underline the hugely positive impact sport can have on society. I strongly believe WeThe15 could be a real game-changer for persons with disabilities.”