Rethinking disability

The reTHINK disABILITY community awareness campaign was highly commended in the Excellence in Advocacy and Promotion of Human Rights category at the 2016 Victorian Disability Awards in June.

reTHINK disABILITY was up against five other advocacy programs, with Women with Disabilities Victoria taking out top honours for their work helping prevent family violence.

Members of the campaign attended the award ceremony at Federation Square with Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Martin Foley, presenting the reTHINK disABILITY members with their award and congratulating them for their empowerment of people with a disability.

The campaign, created and delivered by participants who graduated from the Surf Coast Shire Enabling Women leadership program, encourages community members to rethink how they see people with disability and realise the value people with all abilities can bring to their community.

“It’s fantastic to see advocacy like this in our community. This campaign has been a great success and it’s just wonderful for it, and the women behind it, to receive this recognition,” said Surf Coast Shire Mayor Rose Hodge.

The group developed a series of postcards promoting the reTHINK disABILITY message and launched the campaign at the Cowrie Market in Torquay late last year. The campaign promotes access, inclusion and equality for all people in the community.

“Our leadership group have been working hard to break down barriers, open doors and realise a more inclusive society.

“With reTHINK disABILITY, they have made great in-roads to promote equality and support human rights of people with a disability in the Surf Coast and surrounds.”

The campaign members are looking forward to meeting again soon to talk about expanding the program beyond the Surf Coast Shire.

Councillor Margot Smith said the campaign has been an important educational tool for the community.

“The reTHINK disABILITY campaign has been a great way to draw attention to the steps we need to take to make our communities more inclusive and empowering for people with all abilities. I look forward to seeing what this group does next.”