Look out New York, Paris and Milan – ‘Blind Grit’ is out there and heading your way! Blind Grit is the label and brainchild of Australia’s first legally blind fashion designer, Nikki Hind, and with the help of Ability Linkers at North West Alliance partner Intereach in Albury Wodonga, Nikki (above) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for her first ‘for sale’ fashion line aimed at the athleisure wear market.
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For Ability Links participants Mike Smith and Mathew Daymond, dreams came true on the first weekend in November 2018 when they were able to attend the prestigious Artstate 2018 Bathurst with the support of Ability Links Far North Coast (FNC). The two men are artists with Lismore-based arts company RealArtWorks.Inc. Mike is a musician and songwriter who has been blind since birth, while Mathew is a visual artist and lives with schizophrenia. Both also have an intellectual disability, and both are passionate advocates for their community and its recovery from the devastating floods of March 2017.
It’s a long way from Bangladesh to Mudgee, but with the support of Ability Links Barsha is making the transition. Barsha migrated with her family to Australia from their home in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, in 2016. Barsha and her husband wanted a better life for their two children and believed the open spaces, fresh air and good education system in Australia would give their children the best opportunities.
After relocating to a small town in southern NSW, a change in Narelle’s health brought her career to a halt, resulting in disability and isolating her from her community. To keep mentally active and busy Narelle pursued her love of art and craft, but she felt isolated and disengaged from the outside world. With the help of her Linker she regained her sense of self-worth and since then Narelle's personal growth has been remarkable.
3/10/2018: Regional Community Engagement Linker Kylie Maunder has seen more of NSW's Northern Rivers region over the past year than most people see in a lifetime. Operating from her base in Lismore, Kylie visits Aboriginal and other isolated communities from Grafton to Tweed and out to Tabulam on a regular basis, supporting a range of participants and programs as well as participating in key Social Futures activities and groups. "This is literally the best job I've ever had," Kylie says.
Emily is a young woman with Down Syndrome who lives in Dubbo. About a year ago her family saw an opportunity for Emily to engage even more with her community through the micro enterprise concept. With the support of Ability Linkers at LiveBetter and the Community Leadership Program in Adelaide, Emily and her family set up a microbusiness and engaged a personal assistant to help Emily get involved in niche work opportunities in and around the regional NSW centre.
‘Hurricane Chef’ Nate has moved mountains in his quest to pursue a career as a chef. Now he has realised another dream – to produce and publish his own cookbook. ‘The Cookbook and Story of the Hurricane Chef’ features a collection of Nate’s favourite entree, mains and dessert recipes, along with his tips and tricks and a description of his food philosophy. But it is far more than that. Nate – who is diabetic, totally blind and has two cochlear implants to allow him to hear – recounts his life story and the passion for food which has allowed him to overcome adversity.
20/8/2018: A big ‘thank you’ to the Ability Linkers at LiveBetter in Orange, who last week donned their flannelette shirts, rolled up their sleeves – and raised almost $900 for NSW farmers to buy feed for their livestock. The ‘Feed for Farmers’ flannelette shirt fundraising took place on Thursday 16 August 2018 in the courtyard of the LiveBetter Child and Family Services office, with more than 100 people taking part in a fun-filled day featuring lots of delicious food.
7/8/2018: Tamworth Ability Linker Bec Browning has been recognised for her outstanding community work with a nomination for the regional NAIDOC Inspirational Woman of the Year award. Bec admits to being “blown away” by her nomination and feels deeply honoured.
Respected Aboriginal community member Michael Jarrett (Micklo) came to Ability Links seeking advice on strengthening his family and community connections. Micklo was happy with the effort the Linker has shown to support him, his family and his community. “Everyone is healthier, and more connected,” he says. “We are hopeful for a positive future for our mob.”