Inspiring inclusion around the world
Spanning across the globe, our Sunflower Community unites passionate individuals, organizations, and allies who share a steady commitment to creating a more inclusive society. From the young person wearing their first Sunflower lanyard to the multinational corporation leader committed to fostering a disability-inclusive culture, we're rewriting the narrative surrounding non-visible disabilities.
Whether it is recruiting diverse talent, implementing inclusive policies, or fostering a welcoming environment, we’re actively encouraging organizations to support people with non-visible disabilities.
The largest inclusive sporting event in the world, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, was the first Games to recognise the Sunflower lanyard. In June 2023, 7,000 Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities from 190 delegations competed in 26 sports. The athletes were supported by more than 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.
Intellectual disability is the largest developmental disability in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, up to three per cent - or nearly 200 million people - of the world’s population have intellectual disabilities.
“Not all Special Olympics athletes have a disability that is recognizable, that is why The Sunflower is such a fantastic initiative and important for our games. It will help make the invisible visible and allow athletes to be treated with the extra attention they need”,
said Albert Tuemann Chief Marketing and Communication of the Special Olympics Berlin 2023.
… to Rio
On 17 July 2023, Brazil passed a law (Law No. 14,624) to recognize the Sunflower as the national symbol for non-visible disabilities. On the same day, the Sunflower symbol was projected onto Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary in Rio de Janeiro, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Later in the year, on 9 October 2023, a campaign created by Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to promote empathy, respect, and inclusion was released on its social platforms, As well as footage of the projection of the Sunflower symbol on the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary, it featured Alceu Valença's song "Girassol" (which means sunflower in Portuguese).
Alceu Valença, a successful Brazilian singer and songwriter, is recognized for his significant contributions to Brazilian music over several decades, Alceu expressed his honour in seeing his music associated with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. He shared:
"Music has the power to touch hearts and bring people together. I hope 'Girassol' can inspire everyone who listens to it to support the Official Sunflower Lanyard project and spread empathy and respect for inclusion throughout the world."
…. to Abu Dhabi
As part of our ongoing efforts to promote inclusivity and support individuals with non-visible disabilities, Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) was approved as an exclusive centre for the manufacture and production of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyards in the Gulf Cooperation Council states (GCC region). ZHO’s members of determination now manufacture the Sunflower lanyards at ZHO's vocational rehabilitation workshops.
Paul White CEO of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said:
“It’s simply fantastic that not only will the Sunflower be supporting People of Determination across the UAE, but will also actively support People of Determination in employment by ZHO manufacturing the Sunflower lanyards.”
As part of their skill development in employment training, the Bayley House clients with intellectual disabilities pack orders for Sunflower customers. Bayley House is our Australia and New Zealand partner.
As a for-purpose organisation with experience spanning seventy years, Bayley House is passionate about supporting adults with intellectual disabilities to develop their unique capabilities and live rich and meaningful lives. The vibrant Bayley House community brings passion and commitment to disability advocacy, skills development, independence and self-determination.
… to football
The Sunflower was used by FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ as part of their commitment to delivering a safe, inclusive, and barrier-free tournament for everyone. At each stadium across Australia and New Zealand, FIFA had a dedicated and trained Sunflower-friendly volunteer team available to assist! For all attendees across the tournament FIFA is committed to ensuring that everyone is welcome, stadiums are accessible, and events are inclusive.
“Accessibility in our communities isn’t limited to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. We can all play our part in making our communities more accessible and inclusive. This includes kicking off conversations with our friends, families and colleagues about our accessibility and inclusion” Source FIFA.com
… to the world’s longest lanyard
With the help of our Sunflower Community, we created the World’s longest lanyard to raise awareness of the range and complexities of non-visible disabilities and conditions that exist. Each metre of the 3,784.50m (12,416ft) long Sunflower lanyard is indicative of one of the 867 hidden disabilities, conditions or chronic illnesses or of one of 2917 submissions that were made to the campaign. Click here to view the list.
TV personality and Liverpool FC supporter, Christine McGuinness said:
“My three children are autistic and all use the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard. It's a brilliant way to show we need a little extra help when travelling or when we're out and about. The lanyards make us feel more confident that we will receive support. There are ten million of us out there in the UK with a hidden disability, so the Sunflower lanyard makes a big difference. The more people who know that it symbolises the wearer has a hidden disability or health condition, the better."
But our Sunflower Community doesn't stop there. It extends to every individual who knows someone with a non-visible disability, offering support, understanding, and solidarity.
The power of our Sunflower community lies not just in the symbol of the Sunflower, but in our collective voice. We foster connections, share experiences, and inspire change - carving out a path towards a society that recognizes and accommodates the diverse range of needs within our community.