Mainstream and Me – meet Shailaja and Stephanie

Last month we introduced two of our new Mainstream and Me Facilitators Alex and Ella. This month two more members of the team, Shailaja and Stephanie, talk about what being part of Mainstream and Me means to them.

Shailaja and Stephanie

One of the things to know about me, basically you could say I’m passionate about it, is making a difference in changing the lives of people for the better.

I feel that Mainstream and Me stands for a very broad yet important message. I’m happy to be part of the project because it focuses on inclusion of people with disabilities.

For me, I always classify ‘disability’ as a concept in two sections: One is disability that you can see, largely a physical one – in that it is obvious to the naked eye – and one that is not. So I like to classify my disability as an invisible one.

I want to change the perception that people have around the concept of ‘disability’, broaden their understanding that disabilities are of various types and that, as long as people get the support they need, depending on what they are dealing with, all people can reach their potential.

For me, Mainstream and Me is a chance to gain more confidence in what I can do to make the changes I’m hoping for. With this project, they’re giving us a bigger platform to work with so we can get an idea of what we can do and what we need to work on. We get the chance to grow as people, and that confidence helps us to do more in the community, and this is something I’m very excited about and eager to gain.

One of the things you need to know about me is that I am willing to help other people with disabilities and that’s what I am passionate about.

I think inclusion for people with disabilities needs to be more promoted in the community. Because people with disabilities deserve to be treated the same because we aren’t really different. If someone has a physical or intellectual disability, if you just get to know people with disabilities, we are just the same as you. It’s very important to spread the message across that people with disability deserve to be included in the community.

Through Mainstream and Me we recently created an accessible café menu that is easily accessible for people with disabilities. Some of our team members recently went to a conference in Geelong to talk about the project and how the community can get involved more in including people with disabilities.

I’m hoping to gain more confidence in myself, and how I present myself in the community and just be an advocate for other people with disability and help other people. Hopefully this will send me down a track to another opportunity to continue to spread the message.


Like to know more about Mainstream and Me? Read Alex and Ella's blog, What is Mainstream and Me and why is it important? Mainstream and Me is funded by the NDIS through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC)- ILC National Readiness Grants.


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Published 26 February 2018

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