December 3 is International Day of People with Disability. Since 1996, this United Nations observed day aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people living with a disability while also celebrating their achievements and contributions.
Each year the UN announces a global theme, providing a specific area of focus for how we can all work to create a more inclusive world. With the theme for 2020 being,
“Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 World”.
IDPwD Australia has supplemented this theme with a focus on challenging stereotypes around disability, using the hashtag #DisableSterotypes to ask us to see the ability in disability. Recognising the achievement, talent, contribution and perseverance of all people living with a disability.
This year for IDPwD Australia have worked closely with award-winning writer Carly Findlay OAM to share features on Australian’s living with a disability including Dr. Dinesh Palipana OAM, artist Oliver Mills and social entrepreneur Nipuni Wijewickrema among others.
Dr. Dinesh Palipana
Dr. Dinesh Palipana, OAM is the first quadriplegic doctor to graduate from medical school in Queensland and only the second in Australia.
At 24, while partway through his medical degree, Dinesh acquired a spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident which affects his fingers and everything below his chest.
Despite these new challenges, Dinesh returned to medical school to finish his degree and began his career as a doctor in 2017.
Today Dinesh works in one of the busiest emergency departments in Australia, at the Gold Coast University Hospital and is a strong advocate for people with disability working in the medical profession.
Oliver Mills is an Adelaide based author, artist, poet and speaker. Oliver also has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and vision impairment.
Mentored by local artist Henry ‘Jock’ Walker, Oliver had been making art since 2010, with a focus on abstract expressionism.
Being non-verbal, Oliver says art “gives me another way to communicate how I feel or what I think about life.”
At 32 years old, being as independent as possible is important to Oliver with his creative pursuits helping to provide a sense of accomplishment.
“I also enjoy exhibiting artwork and selling my paintings or greeting cards; I like feeling successful,” he says.
Oliver’s art has been adapted into IDPwD Australia’s 2020 promotional lapel pin.
Social entrepreneur, Nipuni ‘Nip’ Wijewickrema is the co-founder of GG’s Flowers, a floristry business that employs over 35 people with a disability.
Nip was inspired to create GG’s Flowers by her sister Gayana who has Down Syndrome. Wanting to support her sister’s aspirations by providing an opportunity for meaningful employment.
Since 2013, GG’s Flowers has grown from a tiny home business to a thriving enterprise which passionately supports the community.
Beyond providing employment opportunities to people living with a disability GG’s is also an NDIS Provider, offering community access programs, innovative social community participation and even weekly Boot-Camp sessions!
Nip’s passion and support for the community is palpable.
“It’s such an honour and a privilege to work with people with disabilities, every day,” Nip says.
“I get up to work and I’m like, ‘this is awesome,’ I love that.”
Celebrating the achievements of our own community.
As stated by Assured Home Care Director and CEO, Julie de Jong;
“On the 3rd of December, Assured Home Care along with the international community, want to join with our clients and their families in recognising the contribution and valued role that people with disabilities play in our community.
It is a day for optimism and celebration, as we continue working together to create a society where a person is not characterised by their disabilities, but by their abilities.
At Assured Home Care are we are committed to making a positive difference in people’s life every day and working towards diverse, accepting communities.”
So join us this Thursday, December 3, as we celebrate the achievements and contributions of 4.4 Million Australians living with a disability!
To find out more about International Day of People with a Disability, visit the IDPwD Australia website: https://www.idpwd.com.au