Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) February 2020 – June 2024

The ILC project is being delivered in Brisbane, Logan, and Cairns

These cities have significant humanitarian arrivals and are well-established settlement areas. In each of these locations, there are Multicultural Engagement workers (MEWs) who deliver culturally appropriate activities to individuals and their families to increase their:

  • Understanding of disability and the rights of persons with disability in the Australian context 
  • Expectations for what a good life might look like 
  • Awareness of mainstream and specialist disability services and how to access these services
  • Capacity to exercise choice and control when engaging with services, including the NDIS
  • Confidence to exercise their rights and voice their concerns.

Most participants were born overseas in more than twenty-five different countries. Almost seventy per cent of participants have arrived in Australia on a humanitarian visa, and a quarter of participants have arrived in Australia in the past five years. 

Participants speak more than twenty-five languages besides English, with Swahili, Vietnamese, Arabic and Kurdish-Kurmanji being the most commonly spoken languages. The majority of participants require an interpreter.

Effective partnerships have been established by the Multicultural Engagement Workers (MEWs) with key stakeholders in their regions including Refugee Health, settlement agencies, QPASTT, schools, community connectors, disability service providers and the Access and Referral Teams.

Stories of Change

M and Family Find Hope and PTSD Support

M* lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder. Their first application to the NDIS was rejected.

M was referred to AMPARO Advocacy via the Community Connector Program (CCP) in late 2020. When that project ended, they were supported by the ILC project.

AMPARO’s MEW connected with M and their spouse in their home to identify their needs with the support of an interpreter. NDIA requested further information, questioning the permanency of M’s condition.

As the MEW had built a culturally safe relationship with the couple, M explained how their time as a prisoner of war influenced their ability to trust people who shared M’s cultural background. M expressed why they could not fully participate in therapy, even though they shared a common language and culture.

The ILC worker responded to NDIA outlining the information about cultural sensitivity, and M successfully met NDIS Access. The MEW supported M at the planning meeting, and M’s plan was approved. Culturally appropriate supports were put in place, M’s needs are now being met, and their family’s life has been transformed

H Receives Hearing Aids

H* had their NDIS plan for two years and had yet to utilise their funding. In the first year of H’s plan, their mother was contacted several times by a local area coordinator (LAC) who did not engage an interpreter, so their mother hung up the phone.

In the second year, H received support coordination funding, and a support coordinator of the same language background visited the home to support them. However, the support coordinator realised there was insufficient funding and did not return to assist H. Consequently, H could not access the critical support in their plan.

Upon receiving the referral and arranging the first home visit, the Multicultural Engagement Worker (MEW) engaged a qualified interpreter to explain the NDIS plan to them. The MEW connected H with a culturally competent support coordinator who assisted H’s mother in linking to appropriate support for her child.
H was using a hearing aid that needed to be upgraded, and they struggled to focus on school. The MEW supported them by re-engaging with Hearing Australia and making a new appointment. The MEW also supported the mother and H in attending the appointment.

The MEW advocated for a qualified interpreter to be engaged at these appointments. As a result of these appointments, H now has a new hearing aid. The school reported that H can now focus in class and is doing well.

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