Newly-appointed Central Coast Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Community Connector, Keiko Clements, has a big job on her hands.
Clements supports families with children and people with disabilities from multicultural backgrounds across the region as she spearheads a program to help people access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS provides funding to eligible people based on their individual needs.
“Some people from multicultural backgrounds who have a lot of difficulty in day-to-day activities such as going shopping, taking public transport, communicating with others and so on, due to their permanent disability may not be trying to access the NDIS,” she said.
Clements said some people may not even know about the NDIS because it might not exist in the countries they have come from.
“Even if they have heard about it, they may not know where to start,” she said.
Clements came to Australia as an adult and understands that access to information may be difficult in a new country, especially if English is a second or third language.
“The Connector program is funded across Australia because the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) understands that there are extra barriers for people from multicultural backgrounds,” she said.
“Currently, people need to gather evidence about their difficulties or disability from their GPs or specialists to make an access request to the NDIS.
“The Connectors can help in this process.
“I can assist people to connect with Local Area Coordinators, or with Early Childhood Early Intervention services for children with developmental delays.”
CALD Community Connectors can also help those people who are not eligible for the scheme to access community services and supports.
“We also have an easy access to interpreters over the phone,” Clements said.
“This often reduces the anxiety or worries of not being able to understand someone or being understood.”
Clements said it was a boon for the Central Coast to be allocated with a CALD specific program.
“As the program is government-funded, there is no cost.”
If you have any questions about the CALD Community Connector program, or if you could benefit from the support, call or text 0429 656 100.
Media release, Mar 12
Central Coast Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community Connector