Sightsavers blog

Imagination in the making: the inclusion of disability in the SDGs

Dominic Haslam, September 2015
A visually impaired man and a woman holding hands as they walk outside.

“It was an emotional and momentous night for many”

Last night, leaders from the disability and wider civil society sectors came together to celebrate the inclusion of disability in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The focus of the night was an exhibition, Framing Perceptions, sharing the stories of individuals with disabilities living in Uganda and India. It was an emotional and momentous night for many in the room, including me, who have been working for many years for this global moment.

It has been a long road and one that Sightsavers chose to focus on when we joined the leadership of the Beyond2015 campaign four years ago. The inclusion of disability in the goals became more and more the focus of those efforts, particularly when we established a close working partnership with the International Disability Alliance.

I have made lasting friendships through this work, and last night felt like the celebration of not so much a movement as a family.

The issue could not be more important. The stories and experiences of the individuals that form the exhibition must be understood, in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and leave no one behind. Without that, the SDGs will fail.

What gives me great hope that the SDGs will go beyond words on paper is the commitment, passion and togetherness shown by those in the disability movement and their supporters last night. We will not fail, because we cannot.

This is an unusually personal blog for me to write, but last night was an unusual night. I could not be more proud of the role Sightsavers has played in this, and last night will be one I will look back on throughout my life, and be grateful for the role I have been able to play.

Above all, last night convinced me that we can #Imagine2030 with the full inclusion of people with disabilities. And that is worth celebrating.

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