An innovative new approach to disability services education is using lived experience to help providers better understand the challenges facing people with disability from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
According to a research paper released by community organisation and social business Settlement Services International (SSI), people born in a non-English speaking country have similar rates of disability as other Australians but are about half as likely to access support services.
To overcome that gap, SSI launched Our Voice – an educational initiative for disability service organisations. Educators with lived experience combine their unique insights and expertise to deliver tailored learning sessions in English, using first-hand accounts to break down stigmas and shift attitudes.
One such educator is Jubran Eesee, who arrived from Iraq as a refugee in 2015 and is well versed in the challenges facing new arrivals with disability.
“It was difficult in the beginning when we arrived in Australia,” said Mr Eesee. “Disability information is only available in English, so many people do not understand how to navigate the resources or know what support is available.”
“Our Voice is very unique. It provides an understanding of our perspective through our stories. If people can see things through our eyes, then I think they will be more able to meet our needs.”
A passionate ambassador and disability advocate, Mr Eesee leapt at the opportunity to improve the experiences of people with disability arriving in Australia today.
“My goal with Our Voice is to help services understand the challenges and difficulties faced by people with disability when settling in Australia,” he said. “There is a great opportunity here for organisations to learn from people’s stories and experiences.”
While the program offers many benefits for service providers, it also provides a platform for learning and growth for each of the Lived Experience Educators.
“For many of us educators, Our Voice helps us to achieve our goals and build confidence to lead a better life,” said Mr Eesee. “One of the reasons I took part in this project was to achieve my goal of developing my skills as a public speaker.”
Mr Eesee will be delivering his learning activity at the Hireup 2019 Support Worker Conference on Wednesday, August 7.
To learn more about Our Voice and how you can book a learning activity head to www.ourvoice.ssi.org.au
About Our Voice:
Our Voice provides opportunities for mainstream disability service providers to build their capacity in responding to the services access needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds through learning from people with lived experience. Learning activities are delivered in English and are free to participating disability service providers for team meetings and staff learning and development activities
Settlement Services International is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. We work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality.
SSI Communications Officer Greg Clennar
M: 0417 687 064