Breaking down disability barriers for WA’s African communities

This year’s Australian-African Trade and Cultural Expo will be looking to reduce the stigma of disability for families and promote greater inclusion when it takes over Perth’s Yagan Square on this weekend.

The annual expo which celebrates the cultural diversity of WA’s African communities will feature several events for people with disability including dance performances and a fashion show.

Dancers from WA’s Ballroom Fit Para Dance group will join the performances and children with disability will take to the runway in authentic African designs.

APM Communities will also be at the expo to answer people’s questions about accessing the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and other community or mainstream services.

Liz from APM’s Community Capacity Building team, pictured below with her family, said the event was hoping to make it easier for African families in WA to access services and think differently about people with disability.

“African families and communities often experience stigma and shame about having a child or adult with disability as part of their family,” she said.

“Cultural and religious beliefs about disability can often be barriers to accessing services available and put further strain on families.”

Originally from Kenya, Liz joined APM Communities earlier this year when the company partnered with the NDIS to provide Local Area Coordination services in WA.

Liz said her own experience of accessing the NDIS for her son Zac had highlighted the need for cross-community support for people and children with disability.

“I would love to share my story about how combining these beliefs and the supports provided by the NDIS are helping my son be included at home, at school and in community activities along with all the other children,” she said.

Working with schools, businesses, social groups and organisations across the community to increase accessibility and support for people with disability is a unique part of APM Communities partnership with the NDIS. It also allows people who have a disability but are not eligible for the NDIS, to access other kinds of support.

Kerry Stopher, National Manager at APM Communities, said they were looking forward to showcasing the information about the NDIS and other support to families and cultural leaders at the event.|

“Through the dance and fashion show, we can show that young people and adults with disability and their families can be involved in and enjoy the same public events as everyone else,” she added.

The Australia-Africa Trade and Cultural Expo takes place on Friday 6 September and Saturday 7 September at Yagan Square.

The dance performances are planned for 12.30pm with members of the public invited to join in. There will also be live music, entertainment, food and children’s activities. Find out more at ausafritrade.com.

For more information about APM Communities visit apm.net.au/ndis.