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News posted on Thursday 19th August, 2021

New Zealand’s Para athletes help launch WeThe15, a new human rights movement to represent the world’s 1.2 billion people with disabilities

WeThe15 cover image

Launched ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, WeThe15 aims to end discrimination towards people with disabilities and act as a global movement campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion, and accessibility. 

15% of the world’s population has a disability, making it the world’s largest marginalised group and lending the campaign its name. But in New Zealand, 24% of the population has a disability[1], making it an even more pressing issue here.

Paula Tesoriero (Chef de Mission, New Zealand Paralympic Team) believes Paralympics is the perfect way to launch WeThe15. She points out: “The Paralympics is about helping change perceptions of disability – that when you create the right environment and reduce barriers – people can flourish, thrive and achieve.“

Spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA), WeThe15 brings together the biggest coalition ever of international organisations from the worlds of sport, human rights, policy, business, arts, and entertainment. Together they will work with governments, businesses, and the public over the next decade to initiate change.

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Chief Executive Fiona Allan encourages Kiwis to experience the Paralympics and show their support of the New Zealand Paralympic Team by watching the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games broadcast on TVNZ from Tuesday 24 August to Sunday 5 September.

Allan explains: “Our 29 hard-working Para athletes including 18 debutants will give it their all in Tokyo. These trailblazers show what is possible, and each one of them is helping to change attitudes towards disability.“

For further information about WeThe15 please visit and follow @WeThe15 on Instagram and Twitter.

[1] New Zealand Disability Survey (Statistics New Zealand) show that one in four New Zealanders (24% or 1.1 million people) were identified as disabled in 2013.

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