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Know your rights! Be a self-advocate

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By Juliano Oliveira

Haven (Have A Voice & Educate Network) is a self-advocacy program organised by Multicap, a not-for-profit organisation supporting individuals of all ages living with a disability.

Three self-advocacy groups at the Eight Mile Plains, Pine Rivers and Tingalpa Hubs are currently empowering participants in developing communication skills and confidence to advocate for themselves and others.

What drives the passionate discussions is the tireless commitment to seeking solutions to issues that affect the wider community.

“The group discusses challenges they’ve faced in the community, such as needing to ask for help in the supermarket, and developing strategies and skills to be confident to speak up and say what they need, because, as the group says “if you don’t ask or say something, how will people know?” says Multicap spokesperson.

“From learning about the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, setting personal goals, to learning new communication skills, meetings are always busy. Weekly agendas, minutes and group rules are all set and managed by the group members, and published in Easy English formats.”

Recently, the group pushed a repair request to Brisbane City Council on broken and missing tactile pavers at a major intersection near its headquarters. The public administration has approved their claim to replace and repair the pavers.

The outcomes of the groups have been generating self-confidence, responsibility and friendship.

“I started coming because I wanted to talk louder and with more confidence,” said Rory, who often chairs the meetings. “But now we’ve all become friends too.”

“I wanted to learn about new things and speak up. I was very interested in learning about human rights, it’s important to know them so you can speak up,” said Lara, who looks after the minutes at each meeting.

Interested in joining one of our Self-Advocacy groups, or want to find out more? Call on 1300 135 886 or email info@multicap.org.au.

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