Connecting with Communities – NT

FPDN Northern Territory has been working in the NT since 2014. Our work has taken us across the Barkly region visiting and holding workshops or community yarning sessions in Tennant Creek, Ali Curung, Elliot, Utopia (in this community alone there are 21 skin/ family groups) and Alice Springs.

Our work in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory is focused on increasing understanding of disability in Aboriginal communities and to build awareness of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the principles that underpin its creation.

June Riemer, Deputy CEO FPDN said: “From the beginning of the project we saw this work as building relationships with the local communities and this meant engaging with the Elders, Lore men and Aboriginal council groups, to get permission to be in their communities and for them to trust what we were doing,”

“From the outset we visited the many art centres, which are the focal point of most communities and shared who we were and what our business was about. We then shared our information with the local Aboriginal medical centres and they were able to help us identify people with disability in the community and we could share this information with the NDIA based in Tenant Creek.”

“We sometimes hire local interpreters or translators, as English is the third or fourth language for many in these communities. Our work also involved building a relationship with the workers from the National Disability Insurance Agency in Tenant Creek and we held many community BBQs or events together with community, to encourage a joint dialogue between Aboriginal people with disability, with us a non government organisation and the government workers.”

FPDN Barkly Advisory Group

On Friday 16 June 2017 First Peoples Disability Network was honoured to host a community gathering to discuss disability, services and supports and the NDIS in the community. It was wonderful to have social justice commissioner, June Oscar in attendance to speak alongside FPDN CEO Damian Griffis.

The meeting brought together some of the Elders and community members living with disability. It was a day of robust conversation which culminated in the development of the Barkly FPDN advisory group.

Creating Resources with NT Communities

Talking Pictures

The concept of a ‘person centred’ approach to service delivery and the NDIS is a new conversation for many Aboriginal people. So we are developing a resource booklet to share the message: What Keeps You Strong In Community. In partnership with Barkly Regional Arts Centre in Tennant Creek, we were able to engage a local person to collate the individual stories and art work from people with disability, of what keeps them strong in their community and what particular language group/ tribe they were from. The resource booklet will be called ‘Talking Pictures’ and it will be a helping hand for the NDIA to understand culturally that every person has a story and this story is important to how they receive or need services to have a good life.

Proper Way Planning Book

Paul Calcott is developing an interactive and accessible resource booklet and film, using his artwork and it is called the ‘Proper Way’ planning book. The concept is supporting a person’s story through how they access services or the community and what supports they may need to do this. In training and yarning we talk about how they can use this story to meet with the NDIS and also included in the booklet is a page of stickers for them peel off and use, to identify what supports they will need in their planning journey.