As a Chinese Australian woman with a disability I have some idea of how it feels to be segregated, ignored or constantly put in the too hard basket, but I have called Australia my home for 38 years so I speak and have Australianisms in my culture, still I consider myself CALD. So when we are speaking of people with disability from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Background (CALD) we are referring to and include those and their families who speak and use English as their second language or not at all. People who identify themselves and or their family’s nationality and culture as being from a non-English speaking country.
When you are a person with a disability from a CALD background there is a whole other layer of barriers with added complexities on top of the ones faced already by people with disability.
- Discrimination along with racism mixed in.
- There is often a sense of shame for people with disability of self and family, which flows on to exclusion and isolation from community.
- Complex communication needs leave you out of the loop feeling lost and excluded, when interpreting services are not innately a part of a service or organisation, but more of an afterthought or on a needs basis.
Speaking up for yourself and self advocacy are a foreign concept because of the western approaches adopted by groups and organisations.
People with a disability from a CALD background want the same opportunity to speak out, build capacity and have influence over their communities.
Diversity n Disability (DND) is a self advocacy program that consists of a committee of Self advocates who identify as coming from a CALD background, who strive to mentor other people with a disability from a CALD background and their families on how to use Self advocacy to speak out on issues that are important to people with disability from a CALD background, to have influence over decisions that affect their lives.
As you make your way through the information and videos of people with disability from different CALD backgrounds you get a sense that their community is your community and we need to respect and embrace cultural difference because all it takes is willingness to learn and listen with appropriate support. People with disability from a CALD background are the same, but different get to know the difference.