I am so excited to say that after applying to participate in the ‘Empowering Women’s’ Workshop I was successful.  My colleague Athena along with 10 other women all having various disabilities were also lucky enough to get through to an interview with both Jane and Renee the ‘Empowering Women’s’ Facilitators And ultimately accepted to participate in the 7 week workshop which is run by the Moira Shire.

The group of women who are currently into their 5th week out of 7 weeks, with the 7th week being the Graduation Ceremony, have been meeting every Thursday at the Cobram Community House from 10am to 3pm.

Athena and I were picked up at 8.50am from out the front of the RIAC Office by a 12 seater Community Mini Bus, special thanks to Kathryn (Rural Access Worker). On our way to Cobram, we picked up other participants from Nathalia, Numurkah and Strathmerton along the way.

The Community Mini Bus then returned to the Cobram Community House about 3pm that afternoon to pick everyone back up again and drop them off along the way back to Shepparton. Athena and I were the last, arriving back out the front of the RIAC Office at 4pm.

During these weeks, the group made what they called ‘Strength Scarves’.  The scarves are tie dyed and each group member got to choose a particular colour that stood out to them. We then they decorated it with either coloured stars, typed up powerful and positive words that best described them as individuals or other bright decorations.

The Group also made ‘Strength and Negative’ bags, where we again wrote or stuck typed up words that meant something to inspire each individual to strive and achieve their goals on the outside. On the inside of the bags, we put negative words about how they felt or saw their disability. We then decorated around the edges.

The Group also spent 1 day discussing the NDIS, what it stood for? How it worked? The benefits? And who was entitled to it? Amongst other relevant NDIS stats. And on week 3, each of us were allocated a mentor each who was a resident of the community. The mentor and her mentee as the group member was referred too were encouraged to meet at least once a week if not more often over coffee or lunch to talk, as well as exchange e-mails and phone numbers and get to know each other better, and to assist us to achieve our goals in life.

On the last day, we will be enjoying Graduation Ceremony from 12noon to 1.30pm at the Cobram Civic Centre. The Cobram Mayor will be in attendance to shake each participant’s hand and present each of them with a Certificate of Appreciation, it is at this time that each Graduate will then make a speech. And there will then be food and drinks afterwards and a song which will be sung by some of the group member.

It has been both an informative and rewarding workshop and experience that women with disabilities no matter what they were all came together as one and shared their stories, dreams, highs and lows, as well as their goals for life. Athena and I would highly recommend for any woman with a disability to give it a go if you ever have the chance too.

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