Celebrating unique abilities

The fellows, drawn from innovative disability-focused organisations in Vietnam, Laos, England and the Phillippines, are being hosted by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences for an intensive eight-week program.

The program will work with leading researchers or frameworks for effective policy-relevant data collection, and the monitoring and evaluation of community-based rehabilitation.

The University of Sydney’s Rosamond Madden said the ALA award was a good initiative by the university.

"To have all the different organisations come together is fantastic because we can all devise ways of monitoring and analysing these services for the disability-focused organisations involved," Mrs Madden said.

Laotian Bounlanh Phayboun of the organisation Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) said she hopes to incorporate the different services to those with mobility and disability issues.

"Our work with the University of Sydney is very beneficial to Laos because it will enable us to find undiscovered devices to help deal with various health issues not just in Laos, but elsewhere in the world," Ms Phayboun said.

Penny Ching of the University of the Phillippines said she was privileged to be a part of the collaboration of ideas with the University of Sydney.

"For some of us, its our very first time here in Australia and it’s good to meet representatives of the different countries," Ms Ching said.

Mrs Madden was grateful to visit Westhaven, and said she fully appreciated the welcoming from Jim McDonald at the disability service. The Westhaven Association is a disability service provider in Dubbo, which exists solely to provide support, employment and accommodation for adults with intellectual disabilities.

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