International Day of People with Disability 2023
December 3, 2023
by Courtney Dunn

International Day of People with Disability 2023

There are 4.4 million people in Australia living with a disability. 

That’s 4.4 million people who continue to face barriers, who are often overlooked and under-appreciated. 

While we must strive for fairness, equity, and inclusivity every day, today, the International Day of People with Disability, holds special significance to amplify our efforts. It's a day not just for promoting inclusion, but also for celebrating the accomplishments and invaluable contributions of people with disabilities. 

Across the Royal Rehab Group, we are proud to share some of the stories and successes of a few of our incredible clients. 

New Beginnings: Hannah grabs opportunity 

Hannah on her shift at Breaking Grounds carrying a tray of baked goods

Stepping out into the world of adulthood after school can be a daunting journey for anyone. Yet, for those with disabilities, the challenges often loom larger. Sadly, many businesses still don't recognise the talents of these individuals. 

Enter Hannah. A recent graduate facing uncertainty, adrift without a clear direction. Unsure where to begin her job search, she found herself at a crossroads. 

Luckily, Breakthru, the Royal Rehab Group’s disability services, made a significant impact on Hannah's life. Despite her initial quietness, it was clear that Hannah had a strong work ethic and a genuine desire to help others. Through Breakthru's School Leaver Employment Services, Hannah secured a six-week placement at Breaking Grounds, Breakthru’s inclusive cafe. 

Of course, Hannah shone in the role, quickly becoming an expert in customer service, preparing orders, and handling the register. Her outstanding performance and dedication led to a permanent position at the cafe. Hannah is now the face of Breaking Grounds, greeting regulars with a smile along with their daily dose of coffee.  

Changing the Game: Alex’s innovation 

Alex Richter and Dave Simpson working on cutting edge technology during his internship at Sargood on Collaroy.

During a 12-week internship at Sargood on Collaroy, Royal Rehab’s resort for individuals with a spinal cord injury, 20-year-old Alex Richter was a whirlwind of energy, innovation, and intelligence. 

Partnering with Dave Simpson, an occupational therapist at Sargood, Alex dove into cutting-edge technology. His goal? Making drones accessible for individuals with disabilities. But that’s just the beginning! Alex went on to craft a program, ensuring that people with disabilities found the perfect gaming controllers, unlocking the world of gaming for them. 

In the 12 weeks of his internship, Alex went on to achieve many more things and although the internship may be over, we don’t expect Alex to slow down any time soon. We can’t wait to see how he continues to reshape and innovate within the disability sector – and we know there are so many other great minds out there who just need the space to shine. 

Kicking Goals: Jamal’s determination 

Jamal using advanced technology at Royal Rehab LifeWorks Ryde

After a serious car accident altered his life, Jamal thought his soccer days were behind him. Once a professional player in Syria, the reality hit hard. Yet, Jamal's determination never wavered. 

At Royal Rehab LifeWorks, Jamal focused intensely on his rehab and was driven by one goal: to play soccer with his sons again. Day after day, he pushed himself in physiotherapy, working on balance and refining walking techniques, using both hard work and innovative technology. 

His dedication paid off. Now, you'll find Jamal jogging in the Advanced Technology Centre at Royal Rehab LifeWorks Ryde. During a family beach trip, he achieved another milestonejoining a game of volleyball, a testament to his incredible progress. 

“I need to show people what you can achieve through hard work,” Jamal says an endeavour we know will inspire many.  

A Breakthru client enjoying relaxing at the park

Throughout the Royal Rehab Group, our commitment stands firm: breaking barriers, amplifying awareness, and ensuring people with a disability can access the services they need.  

We're extending an invitation to everyone to participate in the International Day of People with Disability. This year, the theme resonates with unity in action to champion the Sustainable Development Goals, advocating for, alongside, and by individuals with disabilities. It's a call to create a world that's fairer an ongoing mission that deserves our continuous attention. 

We urge you to join us in spreading awareness within your communities, engaging in conversations with those who have firsthand experiences, and offering platforms for individuals to share their stories and illuminate their journeys. Together, through our combined efforts, we can foster tangible and impactful change. 

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Royal Rehab acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future and we extend our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.