Andres

Well, about me: I’m from Colombia and I arrived with my wife 15 months ago. We are based in Brisbane. When I came here, I realised that I need to improve my English skills and I enrolled at TAFE where I finished a Cert III English.

Now, I’m working full time as a trainee for a non-profit in marketing. I work in the same area that I used to work in my home country. This experience gave me the opportunity to gain new skills and learn about the work atmosphere in this country which has been great!

I’m so excited that be a participant in the NDIS. I already had the first meeting and I’m waiting for the plan. That will hopefully allow me to do more sports and also socialise with other people.

I love swimming and biking. I have a recumbent trike that has been fantastic for me. This is the first time that I ride since my surgery.

What barriers have you found when trying to access the community?
For me, the biggest barrier was the language. Although I came with intermediate English, catching the whole meaning of a sentence was really difficult at the beginning. Aussie people speak so quickly and usually cut the words. (like: arvo. ambo, servo, ta). Now I think it’s funny and I really enjoy learning new words.

What things have made you feel welcomed and included?
The people here are so warm and happy. You are on the street and someone who doesn’t know you has a smile for you. Sometimes you can start small talk really easily. Also, as a person with disability, I noticed facilities all around the country are pretty accessible. I had the opportunity to visit Sydney, Brisbane and the surrounding areas (Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast). All the facilities are so convenient and handy in terms of accessibility. This is a big point when you come from another country that doesn’t offer you the same advantages. To be more specific, here you have ramps, lifts, car parking, toilets that makes you feel included. It’s awesome! The NDIS program is just fantastic. Although it has not officially started in QLD, I already received some benefits that make me feel confident about my future in terms of my personal and professional life.

Do you have any ideas around how to create a more inclusive society for people with disability from CALD backgrounds?
This country offers a lot of different activities that allow people with disability to be involve with the community. I would be interested in groups of people who speak the same language. That way I reckon people feel more confident to share their thoughts and experiences. I would be interested to have a website where you could find people with similar interests, such as people who practice the same sports for instance.

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