People with disabilities want to be treated as people first — rather than by being defined by impairment — and everyone has a role to play in helping bring that to fruition. That was the message from the 2018 Social Justice Week Workshopheld on August 4 at St Thomas More church in Mt Maunganui.

“Being treated with dignity and respect as a human being should just be a given. But for many people that is not the case,” said Julianne Hickey, director of Caritas Aotearoa
New Zealand.

Approximately 25 per cent of New Zealanders have some form of impairment. When the impact on families is factored in, then the effects on the country are substantial,
Caritas noted in a statement.

“From the stories of lived experiences, that we listened to on Saturday, it is clear that sometimes it would just take a single act of kindness to really make a difference in
someone else’s life,” said Mrs Hickey.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton facilitated the workshop to highlight the challenges faced by people with disabilities and to foster
greater awareness and inclusion.

Imagine Better, an organisation which supports people with disabilities, was also a key contributor to the workshop. It was the first of five planned workshops. The others
were took place in Taupo, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Wellington during August.

 

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