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International Day of Persons with Disabilities commemorated in Tehran- 3 December 2013

Music band of mentally challenged children from Zeinab Charity Organization

Every year, around the globe the International Day of People with Disability is marked on 3 December. The day is aimed at promoting an understanding of issues faced by people with disability and also encouraging support for the dignity, rights and well-being of the disabled.

This year the day was commemorated in the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran at Ra'ad Rehabilation Goodwill Complex (RRGC). Its theme: "Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all."

UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis joined the celebration where he delivered the message of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. In his message for the occasion of International Day of People with Disability, Mr. Ban Ki-moon had stated the following:

"More than 1 billion of us live with disabilities. We must remove all barriers that affect the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society, including through changing attitudes that fuel stigma and institutionalize discrimination."

UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis

Mr. Lewis then shared with the audience his personal reflection. "Today, our focus should be on children with disabilities. They also have high hopes and sweet dreams. Our job must be to help them to fulfill their dreams. When these young heroes overcome their difficult conditions, when they succeed - this bring us to tears."

The audience consisted of a large number of care givers and also celebrities including renowned actors, actresses, radio and TV announcers, sportsmen and women as well as intellectuals and businessmen.

Representative of Board of Trustees and Head of
Scientific and Practical Centre of
Ra'ad Rehabilitation Goodwill Complex
Dr. Hossein Alagheband

During the ceremony, the Representative of Board of Trustees and Head of Scientific and Practical Centre of Ra'ad Rehabilitation Goodwill Complex, Dr. Hossein Alagheband said "RRGC is an educational and charity institution which offers services to disabled persons under three major areas:

rehabilitation, vocational training and support services." He then emphasized the fact that these services are free of charge to all qualified candidates who are in need of this support.

He said since its establishment in 1984, Ra'ad institute is proud to have trained more than 3,300 disabled persons and issued internationally recognized certificates for nearly 2,310 graduates.

Uncle Qannad (in brown coat) and his team

The audience witnessed a variety of programmes such live music performance by a music band consisting of mentally challenged children from Zeinab Charity Organization, live show for children by famous TV children showman known as "Uncle Qannad" and his team.

Mr. Behnam Rousta who is a person with disability and is a record holder in acrobatic performances also shared his talent with the attendees. Alongside this, special awards were presented to Ms. Fatemeh Bahmani who is a gold medal winner of 2013 Paralympic games in Malaysia, as well as disabled students who had succeeded in passing the nationwide university entrance exam and admitted to universities in order to continue their education.

Ms. Somayeh Tavana from Raad institute

A video clip entitled "Tree of Wishes" was screened for the participants which depicted some 400 disabled persons expressing their practical wishes - varying from owning a laptop computer and tablet to traveling to the holy cities of Mashhad and Karbala.

To fulfill these wishes, the benevolent participants volunteered by making cash donations to the charity.

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