Run Projects

Written"Belonging"Stronger

RobinaYasmin 2On the 18th December 2014 & the 29th January 2015 forums were held at Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association NSW (MDAA) hosted by myself. The title of the forum was "My Culture, My Religion, My Choice" and both were successful events. There were approximately 30 attendees from different cultural backgrounds. I am thankful to My Choice Matters, in particular to Tymon Kennedy for his advice and coordination. I am also thankful to MDAA staff for assisting me, in particular William Bagatcholon, a volunteer with MDAA.

My Culture, My Religion, My Choice forum was about how different faiths can influence culture. In my two forums we specifically discussed how religion views people with disability. The first forum was for service providers and the second was for people with disability. The event was very thought provoking and it provided insight on how different religions/cultures deal with disability.

I am a practicing Muslim and because I have grown up with religion an important factor in my life, it has shaped my understanding of many things. As a person with a disability I felt that it would be a good opportunity to understand about how other religions and cultures have an impact on people with disabilities. I wanted to view life from a different window.

I invited five different religious leaders from Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, and Muslim faiths. I am very thankful to all the guest speakers for making contribution to the forums and to the community. Our audiences found the references provided by the speakers very useful and in general people thought well of the presentations.

The speakers were:a panel discussion

  • Rev. David Wong from the Christian religion
  • Yoong Choong who is an influential Buddhist leader
  • Gursager Singh: Influential Sikh leader and activist
  • Imam Amien Ahmad from the Muslim religion
  • Sheikh Abu Bakar from the Muslim religion

The project has really increased the choice, voice, and control I have in my life. Prior to this it had been over 20 years since I had organised and run a project. I have been mostly limited to staying at home and occasionally going to different places when I get the opportunity, but this project gave me a sense of power, responsibility, and a leadership opportunity to coordinate and run the project. Basically I was 'trying on a pair of shoes much bigger than what I thought I could fit'. So because of these forums I have met a lot of new people and have been able to keep myself busy and occupied with this learning experience. I feel I am able to make confident decisions now, overlooking my disability. I feel that I have accomplished something.

We hope that in the future My Culture, My Religion, My Choice will continue to reach new audiences.