Sunday, 16 August 2009

disability support workers awareness week

whew, i'd like to know what a quiet weekend feels like, i've almost forgotten. but at least i got the important chores of groceries and clothes-washing done, so that means i'm ahead for the week!

yesterday was the mosque open day in hamilton (part of islam awareness week), and the numbers were lower than in previous years. i guess that's because it's not such a novelty anymore. there used to be this notion that mosques were closed and mysterious places where strange rituals happened. but now that the open days have been happening every year, people have realised that they are places of worship just like any other. the fact is that mosques are open for everyone any day of the year, but i know people like to have an invitation before they step into a place that they don't see as their own. i can understand that.

still, it's an event that our community enjoys. we had games, videos playing in the mosque, displays, henna, and the sharing of food. i think however that the kilburnie mosque in wellington would probably take the prize for the most fun open days. wish i could have been in two places at once!

if you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know i'm a big fan of maori tv. i really enjoy the foreign language films, and the documentaries they screen are pretty good as well. last week i watched part of one about media coverage of the o j simpson trial which was refreshing if only because it provided a perspective that we rarely get to see here.

now they are in discussion with officials from the chinese embassy because the station plans to broadcast a documentary about uighur people, told from the perspective of that population. it will be screening on 1 september.

and finally, i hadn't realised that this week was disability support worker awareness week. it's pretty much over now, but these are low-paid workers doing a crucial job, and they certainly deserve recognition:

Every day more than 110,000 disabled New Zealanders rely on disability support workers for medical support, meals, personal care and help the home.

Disability support workers provide support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for people with disabilities who live in community houses. They also visit homes and support people incapacitated by a disability. Their work enables people with disabilities to be as independent as possible.

This is demanding work that requires a wide range of skills and knowledge but in takes place out of public view.

For this complex and demanding work they are paid as little as $14.20 an hour, only marginally above the adult minimum wage of $12.50 an hour.

This is due primarily to a lack of funding from the government and the complicated and confusing way that the disability sector is funded.

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