Most of you are probably aware of the important work SSI does around refugee and asylum seeker assistance, but you may not know as much about our growing portfolio of work within the disability sector.
Two of our flagship programs in this area, the Ability Links NSW program and the FutureAbility initiative, were joint finalists of the 2017 Disability Innovation Industry Awards earlier this year. This recognition is fantastic, and it’s been backed up by the recently released FutureAbility Project Report 2016.
The report outlines two years of research undertaken by the FutureAbility initiative, which was established in 2015 by SSI to help prepare people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, and the CALD service sector itself, to enter the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The report is well worth a look. For example, the research found that while having similar levels of disability as the general population, people from CALD backgrounds with disability are noticeably under-represented in existing disability service and support systems in Australia. This has major implications for the rollout of the NDIS. If a cornerstone of the scheme is truly person-centred service delivery and support, it must be able to meet the diverse cultural and linguistic needs of people with disability.
Key to achieving that aim will be a range of access and equity strategies to ensure real choice and control for people with disability from CALD backgrounds. Cultural sensitivity and competency will be a critical part of that
As the NDIS rolls out in NSW, we need to seize this opportunity to support and strengthen the CALD service sector to deliver culturally appropriate services to people from CALD backgrounds with disability, their families and their carers. I’m proud to say this is what the FutureAbility team are working on behind the scenes. Every day on the ground our 60 SSI Linkers support participants from CALD backgrounds and work alongside communities to help them become more inclusive. So while there’s still a long way to go before the disability sector is able to meet the needs of CALD communities, I believe we’re on the right track.
Beyond the FutureAbility report, this month’s newsletter is filled with positive stories. From the Syrian family who arrived as refugees and have settled in Sydney’s Northern Beaches with SSI Housing, to the Shared Table Project promoting peace-building and fostering dialogue, or the story of Ignite-supported client Rassul Zahrouni, who has established his own grocery business in Farifield Heights.
We can certainly say it’s been another busy, productive and rewarding month at SSI. We hope you enjoy it.