International Day of People with Disability

03 Dec 2020

By Eric Leslie Martin

Bailey, who is supported by Identitywa at the Midvale recycling depot.
Bailey, who is supported by Identitywa and lives in one of their shared living houses, started his new job at the Midvale recycling depot in August. Photo: Identitywa.

The International Day of People with a Disability on 3 December is an annual opportunity for people around the world to organise a local event to celebrate the achievements of people with disability, people like 20-year-old Bailey, Identitywa housemate and the proudest new member of the Midvale Recycling Centre.

Having a conversation about disability can challenge perceptions, educate others, and normalise disability in everyday life.

Bailey, who is supported by Identitywa and resides in one of their shared living houses with his housemates, started at his new job at his local recycling depot located in Midvale in August when they were getting ready for the launch of the State Government’s “Containers for Change” recycling scheme launched on 1 October 2020.

He works under the guidance of site supervisor Ivan and feels proud that he is contributing to making a difference to the environment.

“Bailey’s job at the moment is to welcome people who are dropping off their bottles and cans and then to help sort the items before they are taken by truck to the recycling plant,” Ivan explained.

“We can take up to 9,000 items per day so it can be pretty busy here. Our best day was 31,000!”

Bailey says his favourite thing about working at the depot is that he is helping to recycle the cans and the plastic and glass bottles.

Bailey works under the guidance of site supervisor, Ivan (right), helping to sort some 9000 items processed daily by the plant. Photo: Identitywa.

“I really like helping, I have made lots of friends here too,” Bailey expressed.

Some 4.4 million Australians live with a disability, working, playing and taking on life’s challenges without many of the advantages that “able-bodied” people take for granted: in many cases theirs’ is a hidden struggle, with tales of determination and triumph set within the context of achieving everyday tasks and seemingly ‘ordinary’ goals – such as finding a job.

The International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) promotes awareness, understanding and acceptance in the community for people like Bailey by promoting events that schools, community groups and businesses can hold to mark the day and foster opportunities for engagement and employment.

“This special day, which is mandated by the United Nations and celebrated across the world, provides us with the unique chance to come together to acknowledge the valuable contributions and achievements of people with disability,” said Marina Re, Identitywa Chief Executive.

“In a year that has been challenged by a global pandemic, we are delighted to be still able to join people all over the world to mark the day which focusses on increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability.”