Connect : Connect November 2013
An exciting part of my role in managing Austraining's component of the AVID program is hearing how the work of volunteers contributes to increased understanding, awareness and support for people living with disability in developing countries. Austraining has always supported volunteers as they work toward positive change -- in attitudes, behaviours, techniques and quality of life - for people living with a disability, their families and their communities. About four per cent of all Australian Volunteers undertake assignments in disability related felds including, but not limited to sport, education, health and advocacy. What you may not know is that the Australian Volunteer program supports people with a disability to volunteer overseas. Austraining supports Australians with a disability throughout the volunteer journey, from providing Auslan interpreters at information sessions, to making modifcations to a volunteer’s workplace - to list just a few examples. Turn to page 6 to fnd out more. Recently Austraining established an Inclusiveness Taskforce which I chair, as we started to examine and consolidate our own social inclusive policies and practices -- both for the organisation as well as for the programs we manage. Specifc actions are starting to manifest and you may observe some of these as you read Connect magazine. Ensuring font size, colour and layout is disability and age- friendly are small changes but ones which demonstrate our learning and understanding that being inclusive applies to all that we do. Austraining continues to be grateful for the support of a wide range of Australian Partner Organisations who support volunteers on assignment, including those volunteers working in the disability sector. In June Austraining held an inaugural workshop with select Australian Partner Organisations as well as returned volunteers to discuss further strategies and actionswhich will help us ensure that our management of the AVID program is disability- inclusive for Australians undertaking volunteer assignments. Austraining is delighted with the quality of advice and information that was shared by all who attended. We look forward to further action and strengthening of our inclusiveness activities as the year progresses. Back to the developing world, on page 18 of Connect you can read about the work of the Australian Disability and Development Consortium, an international network which works to promote the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities in development activities. As ADDC Acting Executive Offcer Chelsea Huggett points out, it is estimated that there are one billion people in the world living with a disability, and people with disability are among the poorest of the poor. It is only by giving people with a disability a voice and an opportunity to have meaningful engagement in development activities that efforts to tackle poverty for all will be achieved. The Australian Government has recently announced that it will develop a new strategy to ensure that people with a disability play an active and central role in Australia's aid program beyond 2015, a move applauded by ADDC and the international aid and development sector. You'll see as you read this edition of Connect, that enhancing the lives of people with disabilities is a tangible way that Australian Volunteers for International Development can make a positive contribution. Whether it’s helping establish a business to employ people with disabilities, like Chris Hollonds in Timor Leste, or advocating for Bangladeshi children with disabilities which is Lucy Ledger’s goal, volunteers are making a difference on the ground. I hope you enjoy this edition of Connect and the touching stories from Australian Volunteers for International Development as they work to enhance the lives of some of our planet’s most vulnerable people.
Connect July 2013
Connect March 2014