The voices of us

2 June 2020|Community News| Off Comments off on The voices of us|

DISABILITY Voices Tasmania is reaching out to Tasmanians with disability to join them in building a collective voice.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIS) confirmed its financial support of a three-year program to build the collective voice of the state’s people with a disability following a 12-month pilot project conducted by Disability Voices Tasmania that engaged with people with disability and their supporters.

Project coordinator Fiona Strahan said Disability Voices Tasmania was created and managed by people with disabilities.

“One of our primary roles during the next three years is to empower people with disability to use their voices to raise awareness of the collective experience of barriers and exclusion,” she said.

“Through education, we will also strengthen the citizenship skills of people with disabilities so that they can influence social and economic policies.

“If people understand what the real barriers to equality there are then attitudes will change.

“Attitude shifts will drive practical initiatives that are long overdue for those with any form of disability.”

Ms Strahan said Tasmania has one of Australia’s highest rates of disability, with an estimated 119,500 people, or 23.7 per cent of the population, having some form of disability.

“People with a disability often feel that their voices are not heard,” she said.

“There’s a lot of people out there who are not connected to any service, who are experiencing isolation and discrimination, and we’re hoping that by connecting with us that there’s opportunities for empowerment.

Last year, the pilot project Disability Voices Tasmania conducted workshops regarding ‘using your story to influence decision makers’ and ‘developing your pitch’.

Participants learnt influencing skills, with there being a commonality of issues and experience raised regardless of specific disability.

“By being with a group of other people with disabilities there was a communal strength,” Ms Strahan said.

“By being together, much more can happen rather than struggling alone.”

Disability Voices Tasmania will be holding workshops later this year via Zoom.

People with a story to tell are encouraged to join in the free workshops and connect with others who have similar stories.

To register, contact Disability Voices Tasmania’s project coordinator on projects@disabilityvoicestas.org.au or by phoning 0428 612 299.

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