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2021 IDPwD Ambassadors


I think it’s important we celebrate International Day of People with Disability because for every person I’ve met that’s living with a disability there’s an incredible story.

The reason International Day of People with Disability is important, is because it reminds us to create equitable platforms for all aspects of life in our society.

It does inspire people to want to get up and make a difference.

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM, 2021 IDPwD Ambassador

Graduating from medical school was one of the most special moments of my life.

I’m often at work and sometimes I just stop in the middle of the emergency department floor and I think about how lucky I am to be there. I just feel so glad to be able to do what I love.

For me to become a doctor after having a spinal cord injury had a whole heap of challenges.

The big barriers were things like coming through medical school, getting my first job, overcoming those things.

I think apart from these tangible benefits like innovation, profits and wellness, inclusion just creates a feel where you are a family and I think that’s really special.

The single biggest thing that we need to change in society are attitudes. We need to stop thinking about the barriers and we need to stop thinking about the disabilities and start focusing on abilities and strengths, normalising some of these conversations and showing what lives are like and showing that its normal and I think through those things, attitudes are slowly starting to change.

The reason International Day of People with Disability is important is because such a large segment of our society identify with having a disability. It reminds us to create equitable platforms for all aspects of life in our society.

Nathan Parker, 2021 IDPwD Ambassador

I think it’s important we celebrate International Day of People with Disability because for every person I’ve met that’s living with a disability, there’s an incredible story and so many amazing achievements as well, being on the sporting field or even in their day-to-day lives, doing things that they never thought were possible.

So ever since the age of six, I only ever had the one goal and that was to become a fighter pilot in the Air Force.

Even today, to be able to come to work and do what I love to do and share that passion with others is one of the most empowering experiences for me, regardless of my ability and my differences, to be able to help other people achieve their goals and to share my passion for flying with them is one of the most incredible things I’ve considered myself fortunate to do.

On the pathway to that dream when the accident happened, that basically sent me back to square one, lying in a hospital bed, wondering if I’d ever fly again. Wondering if all that hard work I’d put in from that young age had all gone to waste.

Sometimes it came down to just trying to move that little bit better and then building up day by day. But certainly I think believing that I could and having that goal and that dream of returning to the air and return to flying really spurred me on, especially when times got really tough.

Initially after the accident, there was a lot of fears in my mind as to how I was going to fit back into my environment? How was I going to get along with my mates? Would I be treated differently? Would I be able to do the things I always wanted to do?

I learned to fly with an aero club here in Lismore. I was very lucky to have a seamless journey of people giving me opportunities to try different things. And I’m now very lucky to basically go about my day-to-day life as if I’m just another person. I felt really included, never felt really different or even disabled at all, just due to support and the open-mindedness of those around me I think.

One of the most powerful things they did was sit me in the aeroplane and basically said “Either you can or you can’t, let’s see what happens.”

Throughout my entire experience it’s often been, not necessarily guarantees that I can do things, but at least having the opportunity to try has been one of the most powerful things anybody’s ever afforded me. I wasn’t really all that different, people just accepted me and no one really questioned who I was or what I could do.

William and Daniel Clarke, 2021 IDPwD Ambassadors

When we started our quest, we were just kids, we were only ten and twelve.

We just had a passion to save the orangutans and we had no idea how that would come about.
It was our parents that helped us to find out how we could channel our energy into what we wanted to do and they’ve just supported us on every single step of the way.

My name is William, he’s Daniel…

He always hugs me and…

He doesn’t like it!

A lot of people didn’t take us seriously, they thought, “Oh, they’ll never be successful.” or “They’re just children that will grow out of that phase”.

As the years went on, people started seeing our work, including us in conversations and debates around orangutans and the environment and people started seeing we did have something to say and when we include everyone, you get all these different ideas that you may not have thought of, and those idea may be the idea that solves a lot of the problems of today.

Having Daniel’s cerebral palsy in my perspective of the world has truly shaped who I am now today and has made me aware of so many other things in our world that I don’t think I would have otherwise been aware of. So both as, as a team and along our quest for the orangutans, I don’t think we would be where we are today, if not for Daniel and who he is as part of his disability making who he is as well.

And that story of me having cerebral palsy but also being able to follow your passion, despite having a disability is so important. And while I don’t see myself as anything different to anyone else it does inspire people to want to get up and make a difference.

See the Ability in Disability


When you see someone with disability, what do you think?
Do you see joy?
Connection…
People enjoying everything life has to offer…
Do you see the achievement?
Physically…
Intellectually…
Do you see a fulfilling career?
Beauty…
Talent…
Challenge the way you think about disability.
See the ability in disability.

See the Ability in Disability with Auslan


When you see someone with disability, what do you think?
Do you see joy?
Connection…
People enjoying everything life has to offer…
Do you see the achievement?
Physically…
Intellectually…
Do you see a fulfilling career?
Beauty…
Talent…
Challenge the way you think about disability.
See the ability in disability.

See the Ability in Disability with Audio Description


When you see someone with disability, what do you think?
A girl jumps on a trampoline
Do you see joy?
A woman kisses her partner
Connection…
A family plays wheelchair sports
People enjoying everything life has to offer…
A man lifts weights from a wheelchair
Do you see the achievement?
Physically…
A woman wearing an earpiece skies
Intellectually…
Women with low vision running meetings and a radio broadcast
Do you see a fulfilling career?
A model blows a kiss
Beauty…
A woman sings
Talent…
A man hauls himself up a track
Challenge the way you think about disability.
See the ability in disability.

Kurt Fearnley, 2019 IDPwD Patron


Hi. I’m Kurt Fearnley, the 2019 patron for International Day of People with Disability.

I am a Father, Husband, Teacher, Paralympian, Gold Medalist, Athlete and proud Man with a disability.

As this year’s patron, I want to advocate for my community and increase awareness and understanding of people with disability.

We have the same rights to employment, respect, independence and equality as everyone else.

We all have a role to play in breaking down the barriers faced by people with disability.

Sometimes that role may just be to listen to the voices of people with disability themselves.

On the 3rd of December, get involved by hosting an event in your school, workplace or community.

To find out more, visit the website.

Let’s grow inclusion for all of our community.

Nipuni Wijewickrema, 2016 ACT Young Australian of the Year


We’re standing at GG’s HQ, which is actually our garden shed.

The inspiration behind GG’s is my beautiful little sister, Gayana. She is 21 and she just happens to have Down syndrome. So we really wanted her to have meaningful employment, it just means that we’ve been able to shape and sculpt the life that she would like to lead.

For our business, we have GG’s Flowers, which is obviously a florist. We then have the hamper side of the business where we make gift hampers for all around Australia and New Zealand. And that also provides meaningful employment opportunities for people with special needs. And then we have the third side, which is the NDIS. We are an NDIS provider and we provide community access and innovative community participation for all of our participants.

One of our value adds for our participants that participate in GG’s Flowers is a boot camp. We really do believe in, you know, healthy body, healthy mind, healthy life. And we’re really committed to ensuring that all of our participants across the three businesses have a meaningful life and an ability to be fit and active and healthy. And so we run a boot camp every Monday morning in partnership with everyday champions. And that is an awesome specialized boot camp for all of our participants, where they can kind of, you know, really get fit and active and do some punching and do some boxing and do some jazz-ercise, but they can truly have a really awesome opportunity here at GG’s.

My employees with special needs are amongst the most loyal employees ever. They turn up to work, they’re on time in uniform, they have no attitude. They’re just so grateful to work. And for me being able to do that and being able to be part of their story is just awesome.

International Day of people with a disability is my favourite day. We have an awesome celebration here at GG’s. And we just celebrate all of our staff, and all of these people that we get to work with. Again, it’s an honour and a privilege for my support workers that we employ. They love coming to work every day to serve people with disabilities to lead a meaningful life.

And it’s a very special day where we can celebrate the achievements and we can celebrate you know the special nature of the work that we do. So every IDPwD, the GG’s family and I and all of our staff and all of our participants, we get together and we have a massive celebration because we just think that that’s the most important day of the year for us.

It’s also for people without disabilities that are really committed to celebrating and helping people with disabilities change and lead meaningful lives. If there are people out there that are interested in making a difference and helping and making the world a kinder of place, I say go for it. Because we need more people in our community bringing on social change, bringing on social impact so that we’re all together in this world, making meaningful difference.

 

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