A Maroochydore artist is raising awareness during Disability Action Week about how choice matters and by sharing how she managed to get her life back on track through an NDIS plan that connected her to her culture and was developed with staff from Suncare Community Services.
Robyn Eberle lost full movement of her leg after falling from a tree and at the beginning of this year it became evident that it wasn’t just a physical disability she was struggling with – her mental health was beginning to suffer as well.
Suncare Community Services CEO Russell Mason said Robyn contacted one of Suncare’s NDIS Support Coordinators, Christina, who looked at better ways to support Robyn integrating back into the community through indigenous support.
“NDIS has allowed our customer to take control of her health care plan and for Robyn’s case it has meant a better outcome where she was given a choice about what worked for her,” Mr Mason said.
“Robyn looked to us for assistance and by connecting with Indigenous workers, support, programs and activities she felt safe.”
The 57-year-old artist said she was able to use art therapy and even received a new prosthetic leg with Murri colours which made her feel connected to her community.
“I first met Christina at the Cotton Tree NAIDOC event five years ago and she mentioned the Nandjimadji Art Group and invited me to come along and have a look,” Robyn said.
“I have since joined the group, connecting with the Mob and have been going there ever since. This made me feel excited to connect to my community, culture, Aunties, Sista Girls and Mob.
“I don’t want someone else telling me what I want or how I need to live my life and I think most Murri’s feel the same way. I have the ability to do it myself and make my own decisions.”
Suncare Community Service First Peoples’ Cultural Leader, Christina Fletcher, said Robyn’s story was a good example of giving a person an opportunity to live a fuller life.
“Although it may often feel like a disability can hold a person back, there are ways to make someone’s life better,” Ms Fletcher said.
“Suncare has a Reconciliation Action Plan in place and by following this Action Plan we have ensured that the programs and supports we have developed are solid and actively contribute to closing the gap particularly in the areas of health and emotional wellbeing.”
“I think the choice and control that people living with disability now have under the NDIS is fabulous!
“I am seeing people’s lives change. I am seeing people not only being able to get what they need to live but also they get a choice of how they want to live.”
According to the state government, one in five Queenslanders have a disability and Disability Action Week is about raising awareness, empowering people, and improving access and inclusion within the community.
Disability Action Week runs 13- 19 September. For more information on Suncare visit suncare.org.au.