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Woman in Niqab

We want to share some of the ways our PossABLE Advocates have supported, changed lives and advocated for people with disability. This is *Nadia's story.

*Name changed for confidentiality.

Nadia is a 47-year-old woman who lives with a severe form of cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair and is dependent on carers for all self-care tasks. Nadia migrated from Syria as a refugee 5 years ago and lives with her sister, brother-in-law and nephews. Nadia’s support coordinator referred her for advocacy to help her understand her rights and to support her in achieving her dream of living independently.

The advocate visited Nadia at her day program as she didn’t want her sister to know she was meeting with an advocate. Nadia was concerned that if her sister found out, she would be upset. With the help of an interpreter, Nadia was able to tell her story.

Nadia stated that when she had first arrived in Australia, she lived with her brother and his wife who did not treat her well and allowed her no access to her finances. Since moving in with her sister, she has her own room and feels she is treated better but there are still issues. Her sister keeps half of her money for rent and bills and gives Nadia the other half which she saves in her room. Nadia does not have a bank account.

Nadia expressed that she was scared of her sister finding out she was talking to an advocate and that she finds that her sister is always angry at her for something. Nadia has reported to her support worker that sometimes she sits in her wheelchair all day when at home and is unable to lie down. Nadia has also reported that she eats breakfast and morning tea at home but her sister asks her not to eat while she is at the day program. Nadia stated a doctor in Syria had advised her not to eat during the day due to high cholesterol, but she is unsure if this is still the case.

Nadia’s physiotherapist has recommended a new wheelchair, but her sister is against this and is in control of Nadia’s NDIS funding as her plan nominee. Staff at the day program and Nadia’s support coordinator are reluctant to bring up these issues with Nadia’s sister as she has threatened to withdraw Nadia from the day program. Nadia enjoys going to the centre and is happy there.

Nadia states she is reluctant to have her sister cancelled as a plan nominee but would like to use her funding for her goals. In particular, she would like support to live independently but does not want to upset her sister. Nadia has never been present at an NDIS plan review meeting and her goals have been decided by her sister.

The advocate explained Nadia’s rights to her using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability. Nadia was surprised to learn the level of autonomy and decision-making she was able to have over different parts of life. The advocate also supported Nadia to contact the NDIS to explore having her sister removed as a plan nominee. Nadia is now in control of her NDIS plan and has arranged for a plan review to seek more funding to achieve her goals.

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