Home' The Canberra Times : International Day For Persons With Disabilities Contents TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2013 THE CANBERRA TIMES3
LET'S TALK ABOUT
Canberra finalists shine at awards
Honoured: Ann Procter is being recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
A lifetime of fighting for disability rights
ANN Procter's pathway in life to
support and fight for inclusion of people
with disability began at a young age.
Having been brought up in a family
where her father had acquired a dis-
ability as a result of childhood polio and
required some assistance in order to
participate in his local country town,
Ann has vivid memories of the focus
being on his many abilities, not what he
was unable to do.
As a young teacher, she was respons-
ible for children with learning diffi-
culties, and when her second child,
Susie, was born with multiple disabili-
ties, Ann knew her prior knowledge put
her in good stead to ensure her daugh-
ter grew up with enriched and inclusive
Ann has contributed to numerous
organisations in the ACT, including
Advocacy for Inclusion and the ACT
Disability Advisory Council. She also
worked at the Department of Human
Services at Canberra Institute of Tech-
nology for 18 years, where she provided
training for students working towards
supporting people with disabilities.
Ann's 40 years of tirelessly pursuing
the rights of people with disability to
experience physical, social and eco-
nomic inclusion has led to her being
awarded the Lifetime Achievement
Award in Disability at this year's
National Disability Awards. The award
recognises people who have made signi-
ficant contributions to Australian soci-
For Ann, putting people with disabili-
ties first and helping to give them a voice
is what drives her passion.
She felt overwhelmed when she was
advised of her nomination, saying that
during the time she had dedicated to
supporting people with disabilities she
had been given the opportunity to meet,
work and grow with a range of people.
"To experience the contributions
made by people with disabilities to their
community and friends can be a very
enriching opportunity. I have a very
strong commitment to valuing every
person for what they can contribute,"
"Working with a range of different
groups and individuals has opened the
door for a really rich emotional, social
and intellectual life."
Reflecting on the last 40 years, Ann
said she has seen a dramatic change --
as part of a worldwide movement -- for
improved lives and inclusion of people
Looking forward, Ann is excited by
the opportunities we have as a society to
further build on this work.
"We do have some way to go. We need
to move from a token expression to a
more genuine one. But if you start with
the token, you at least have something
to build on, and that's exciting," she
n W w t Ex or t
Y r B t Po tI l Ca oo
The ACT Disability Advisory Council is being
refreshed and we want to hear your views
about its future role and function. The Council
provides strategic advice to the ACT Minister
for Disability and wider ACT Government on
issues affecting people with disability.
People with disability, carers, service
providers and the broader community are
invited to a Community Conversation at
153 Emu Bank, Nature Conservation House,
on 16 December. Register your interest
via email@example.com or
You can also complete a short online survey
about the future role and function of the
A passionate emerging leader
Leader: Huy Nguyen is working to
change people's perceptions.
HUY Nguyen finds it strange that
things like toilets and buses are called
disabled. For him, calling things or
people disabled mean that they don't
work. And Huy is all about changing
He established Enable Development,
a social enterprise focusing on what is
able to be achieved, not on disability.
Improving the lives of people with
disability both in Australia and develop-
ing nations, Enable Development
focuses on bringing together passionate
professionals to tackle and overcome
Huy has personal experience with
physical disability -- he contracted polio
at an early age and has spent his
childhood and adult years in a wheel-
It was his passion for peer-to-peer
capacity-building roles that led Huy to
undertake projects in Timor-Leste and
the Solomon Islands. He led a group of
development organisations to establish
an inclusive water, sanitation and
hygiene project in Timor-Leste which is
now being modelled by AusAid across
other developing countries.
"I have empathy because I have lived
experience of some of the challenges
faced, and this gives me insight into
what barriers need to be broken down,"
The winner of the Emerging Leaders
award at this year's National Disability
Awards, Huy feels that the award will
help him shift perceptions.
"My ultimate vision is a world where
we don't even use the word disability.
Hopefully one day people with disabili-
ties won't be categorised," he said.
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