Around the world, there are an estimated 180-220 million youth with disabilities between the ages of 15 and 24, and 80% of these individuals live in the developing countries. Because of societal stigma and discrimination, persons with disabilities are denied access to education and employment opportunities. It is often seen that women, young people, and those with invisible disabilities are amongst the most marginalized in society and experience multiple forms of discrimination.
Existing Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs), particularly in the Global South, have not actively engaged with young persons with disabilities. Consequently, their voice and presence is absent from domestic and international policy debates. To address this issue, DPI set up the Global Youth Network (GYN) in February 2012. The vision of GYN is to build strong, capacity-filled youth with disabilities to become advocates for equal rights and opportunities within their societies. DPI strongly believes that it is through the empowerment of youth that the disability movement can be sustained across the world.