Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Margaret Twomey, centre, with guests during the disabilities panel discussion at USP in Suva.
LOCAL advocates for people living with disabilities engaged in a panel discussion as Fiji marked the International Day of People with Disability.
The panel discussion was organised by the Australian High Commission in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific, the Fiji Disabled People’s Federation and Pacific Women at the Australian Aid theatre at the USP Laucala campus in Suva on Thursday.
Melita Delaibau, who has hearing impairment, urged stakeholders and policy-makers to advocate for more inclusive policies and she was a testament of why inclusion mattered which was the theme at the panel discussion program.
“There needs to be more education facilities that is made accessible and everyone must work together to ensure it is operationalised.”
She commended USP for being the only Pacific Island university outside New Zealand and Australia that allowed for people living with disability to be enrolled and learn at the university.
“The inclusivity policy has opened many doors, all come now and get an education here.
“It is a hub for us. There are programs that enable us to be able to access the course materials.”
She also called for an improvement in the facilities such as making buildings more wheelchair friendly and having public spaces that were disability friendly.
“I would like to also urge other Pacific Island countries to do the same and I am thankful to the university because they paid full tuition and allow us to gain employment and the Japanese Government for recognising inclusion.
“Why inclusion matters is because it enables individuals to get a better education but fully enjoy the experience of living life not only getting good results but also given equal opportunities like others.”