The VDPA strongly supports inclusion. Including people with disabilities in everyday activities and encouraging them to access education and have roles similar to their peers who do not have a disability is disability inclusion. This involves more than simply encouraging people; it requires making sure that adequate policies and practices are in effect in a community or organization. The VDPA plays an active role in developing policies and working with government and other stakeholders to ensure that all policies cover inclusion. Inclusion should lead to increased participation in socially expected life roles and activities—such as being a student, worker, friend, team mate, colleague, community member, patient, spouse, partner, or parent. Socially expected activities may also include engaging in social activities, using public resources such as transportation and libraries, moving about within communities, receiving adequate health care, having relationships, and enjoying other day-to-day activities.
The 2009 Vanuatu Census showed a total population 234,033 people living in Vanuatu, with persons with disabilities constituting app. 12 percent of the total population, or 28,082 people. Vanuatu ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008 and from that time onward, the Vanuatu government took several important steps to implement its obligation under this international agreement. It adopted several action plans, namely, the National Disability Policy and Plan of Action 2008-2015, the Mental Health Policy and Plan 2009-2015, and the Inclusive Education Policy and Strategic Plan 2010-2020. It “created a Disability Desk within the Ministry of Justice and Community Services to monitor the implementation of disability related policies and to coordinate collaboration with government institutions, civil society and development partners. The VDPA works tirelessly to continue to advance the rights of persons with a disability in Vanuatu including advocating for better education, improved access to services and transport and fighting for more employment opportunities.
The VDPA is currently working on the following key projects: