Disability and Neurodiversity Campaign and Awareness Days

Guide to Disability / Neurodiversity Campaign and Awareness Days 2023

A NZ organisation guide to key campaigns and awareness days related to disability and inclusion.

Awareness days can help you promote a culture of inclusion and help you demonstrate your commitment to a workplace that is accessible and supports everyone to reach their full potential.

World Braille Day - 4 January 2023

World Braille Day celebrates the birth of Louis Braille, inventor of the reading and writing system used by millions of blind and partially sighted people all over the world. World Braille Day, celebrated since 2019, is observed to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.

Key hashtags

  • #BrailleDay

World Hearing Day - 3 March 2023: Ear and hearing care for all! Let's make it a reality

World Hearing Day 2023 will highlight the importance of integrating ear and hearing care within primary care, as an essential component of universal health coverage

Key messages

  • Ear and hearing problems are among the most common problems encountered in the community.
  • Over 60% of these can be identified and addressed at the primary level of care.
  • Integration of ear and hearing care into primary care services is possible through training and capacity building at this level.
  • Such integration will benefit people and help countries move towards the goal of universal health coverage.

On this day, WHO will launch a new training manual - Primary ear and hearing care training manual. The manual will be accompanied with trainer’s handbook and other community resources

Key hashtags

  • #WorldHearingDay
  • #HearingCare
  • #SafeListening

International Women's Day - 8 March 2023 - "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality"

Not strictly related to disability inclusion and accessibility, but still worth noting and celebrating....

In New Zealand, International Women’s Day is UN Women’s special day and events are held across the country to mark the day.

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.

Key hashtags

  • #IWD2023
  • #EmbraceEquality
  • #WomensDay

Neurodiversity Celebration Week - 13-19 March 2023

When it comes to inclusion, neurodiversity refers to a world where neurological differences are recognised and respected as all other human variations.

Many people in our community use neurodiversity as an umbrella term used to describe alternative thinking styles such as Dyslexia, DCD (Dyspraxia), Dyscalculia, Autism and ADHD. But regardless of labels, neurodiversity is about recognising those who think differently. And no matter whether you are a school, university or organisation you can benefit from different thinkers!

Approximately 15-20% of population has a neurological difference. Instead of labelling people with deficits or disorders, when we use the term neurodiversity, we take a balanced view of an individual’s unique strengths and challenges. Many ‘challenges’ neurodivergent people face are more to do with the environment and systems they are placed in, often designed by a majority population.

Key hashtags

  • #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek
  • #NeurodiversityWeek

World Down Syndrome Day - 21 March 2023

In December 2011, the General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day. The General Assembly decided, with effect from 2012, to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year. In order to raise public awareness of Down syndrome, the General Assembly invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner.

Key hashtags

  • #WorldDownSyndromeDay
  • #WDSD2023
  • #LotsOfSocks

World Autism Awareness Day - 2 April 2023

World Autism Awareness Day was declared by the United Nations to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism and ensure their full and meaningful participation in society.

Key hashtags

  • #WorldAutismAwarenessDay
  • #WorldAutismDay
  • #WAAD
  • #AuthenticallyAutistic

World Health Day - 7 April 2023

On 7 April 2023  ̶  World Health Day  ̶  the World Health Organization will observe its 75th birthday.

In 1948, countries of the world came together and founded WHO to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health and well-being.

WHO’s 75th anniversary year is an opportunity to look back at public health successes that have improved quality of life during the last seven decades. It is also an opportunity to motivate action to tackle the health challenges of today  ̶  and tomorrow.

Join WHO on a journey to achieve Health For All.

Related links

Key hashtags

  • #HealthForAll
  • #WHO75

World Day for Safety and Health at Work - 28 April 2023

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It is held on 28 April and has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.

NZ Sign Language Week - 8 to 14 May 2023

NZSL is essential for Deaf people in education, health, workplaces and to be able to participate equally in society.

This year’s New Zealand Sign Language Week is all about, coming together to all learn signing, whether we are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or hearing! Because together we can make New Zealand Sign Language thrive.

Related links

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) - 18 May 2023

The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion and the more than one billion people worldwide with disabiliites/impairments.

Key hashtags

  • #GlobalAccessibilityAwarenessDay
  • #GAAD

Pink Shirt Day - 19 May 2023

Celebrated annually around the globe, Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying, after a peer was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. In Aotearoa, Pink Shirt Day works to create schools, workplaces, communities and whānau where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.

On Friday 19 May 2023, Aotearoa will become a sea of pink as schools, workplaces and communities join the Pink Shirt Day movement.

By taking part you will be helping to stamp out bullying by celebrating diversity and promoting kindness and inclusion.

Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!

Cystic Fibrosis Street Appeal - May 2023

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common life threatening genetic condition affecting New Zealand children. It is a genetically inherited condition some people are born with that mainly affects their lungs and digestive system.

World Multiple Sclerosis Day - 30 May 2023

The 2020-2023 World MS Day theme is ‘connections’. MS Connections is all about building community connection, self-connection and connections to quality care.

The campaign tagline is ‘I Connect, We Connect’ MS Connections challenges social barriers that leave people affected by MS feeling lonely and socially isolated. It is an opportunity to advocate for better services, celebrate support networks and champion self-care.

Key hashtags

  • #MSConnections

Autistic Pride Day - 18 June 2023

Every year, organisations from across the globe celebrate Autistic Pride Day on June 18 with a variety of events. The aim of this day is to raise awareness amongst those who are not on the autistic spectrum disorder so they do not see autistic people as requiring treatment, but as unique individuals.

This annual event was first celebrated by Aspies for Freedom (AFF) in 2005 and they modelled Autistic Pride Day on the gay pride movement. One of the most significant aspects of the day is that it is not run by charities; it is run by autistic people themselves. Since its beginnings, Autistic Pride Day has been a community event and not a day for other organisations to promote themselves by stifling autistic people. It is now a global celebration that takes place predominantly online.

International Day of Sign Languages - 23 September 2023

The first International Day of Sign Languages was celebrated in 2018 as a part of the International Week of the Deaf. UN General Assembly has proclaimed 23 September as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realisation of the human rights of people who are deaf.

Key hashtags

  • #IDSL2023
  • #IWD2023
  • #NZSL

Mental Health Awareness Week - 18 - 24 September 2023

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual campaign from Mental Health Foundation New Zealand that helps Kiwis understand what boosts their wellbeing and improves mental health.

Key hashtags


International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) - 28 September 2023

Informed citizens can make informed decisions, for instance, when going to the polls. Only when citizens know how they are governed, can they hold their governments accountable for their decisions and actions. Information is power. Therefore, universal access to information is a cornerstone of healthy and inclusive knowledge societies.

Key hashtags

  • #IDUAI
  • #AccessToInfoDay
  • #RightToKnow

World Mental Health Day - 10 October 2023

The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

Key hashtags

  • #WorldMentalHealthDay
  • #MentalHealth

World Sight Day - 12 October 2023

World Sight Day, observed annually on the second Thursday of October, is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment.

Key hashtags

  • #WorldSightDay
  • #HopeInSight

International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPwD) - 3 December 2023

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations-sanctioned day celebrated internationally on 3 December. It increases awareness of the benefits of inclusion of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

IDPwD is the most important day of the year to celebrate the contribution that people with disability make in our community. It’s the ideal day for organisations to launch an Action Plan, a new commitment or a new policy. It’s a day to celebrate ‘nothing about us without us’, which is the global mantra for the empowerment of people with disability.

Key hashtags

  • #IDPWD
  • #IDPD

Human Rights Day - 10 December 2023

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person, including people with disability.

Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to leave no one behind.

Key hashtags

  • #HumanRightsDay
  • #GlobalGoals