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Faiva Ora progress

Imagine a world where Pasifika people with disabilities have access to all the services they need. A world without language or cultural barriers, and where Pasifika people with disabilities can live the life they want the way they want.  Le Va is working with disability support services, communities and others to develop such a world, right here in New Zealand. 

An infographic with the results of our work followsIn the past 12 months, Le Va has focused on two big levers for driving this change: 

1. Enabling a culturally competent disability workforce for Pasifika through “Engaging Pasifika” 

A disability workforce with capability, cultural competency and capacity is required to effectively engage with Pasifika communities and also deliver effective disability support services. The Engaging Pasifika cultural competency programme has been in high demand for our disability workforce, with the most disability workers ever undertaking the programme in the past 12 months compared to all previous12 month periods. 
   
Seven disability-focused Engaging Pasifika programmes were delivered in the 2015/16 financial year in:

  • Auckland (2)
  • Tauranga
  • Palmerston North
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Dunedin.

In addition, many other disability workers attended open Engaging Pasifika programme workshops in Kaitaia and the Bay of Plenty. Attendees ranged from service coordinators, assessors, support workers and clinicians through to management.  

In total 196 disability workers underwent the Engaging Pasifika programme from 26 organisations.

100% of disability participants rated the Engaging Pasifika programme as an excellent programme overall! You can check out more detailed results in our EP Infographic

We have significant demand for EP, with another six disability specific programmes being tentatively scheduled throughout the 2016/2017 financial year. For more information on the programme,  check out the Engaging Pasifika training calendar and register to attend the free programme in a region near you.        

2. Embracing the role of Pasifika church leaders and congregations through the Positive messages from the Pulpit programme

Spirituality, faith and church remain an important part of life for Pasifika communities in New Zealand. For Pasifika peoples with disabilities, churches can play a positive role, connecting into the community and supporting their wellbeing. 

Le Va partners with and supports spiritual leaders, church organisations and congregations to reduce negative stigma and increase access to the right disability support services within church communities. One of these ways is the Positive messages from the Pulpit programme, which has provided positive and inclusive messages about Pasifika with disabilities, and raised awareness of Pasifika disability issues to church communities directly.

The programme has Le Va working with Pasifika church ministers and leaders, and then those Pasifika leaders talking directly to their parishioners (through tailored sermons or workshops) about the connection of disability and faith. These conversations all revolve around reducing stigma, enhancing participation, and empowering and increase access to support services for Pasifika people with disabilities in their church community.

In the 2015/2016 financial year, 10 Pasifika churches engaged with the Positive messages from the Pulpit programme, with seven church leaders delivering the programme nationwide, reaching more than 1,300 parishioners. All the Ministers and church leaders commented positively about the impact of the programme, and also that the focus on Pasifika with disabilities was in-line with inclusive passages in their teachings. 

In addition, more than 340 parishioners responded to a survey regarding the impact of the programme, which found that parishioners greatly appreciated the focus on Pasifika with disabilities, and that knowledge levels regarding issues facing Pasifika with disabilities rose considerably. The survey also found that parishioners saw the role of the church as important in providing a supportive place for Pasifika people with disabilities. 

We have received more interest in this programme, and are looking forward to nurturing the relationship with our Pasifika church leaders and congregations, and partnering with them to deliver the Positive messages from the Pulpit programme. Programmes like this aim to ensure that Pasifika disability issues are not swept under the carpet, but that awareness is raised and access to appropriate disability support services for our Pasifika people is enhanced. 

You can also check out the suite of Pasifika disability resources available on the Le Va website.

About the author •
As Senior Manager, Ben is responsible for improving access to disability support services for Pasifika people. He brings a vast amount of experience having worked in the mental health sector for more than 15 years.

Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.