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Leading the way for Pacific people

Leading the way for Pacific people

For the first time, Pacific people with disabilities have a national leadership group to represent their views at the highest levels in New Zealand.

Le Va, a Pacific programme within Te Pou, has set up the Faiva Ora National Leadership Group to provide quality advice to the Ministry of Health on how disability support services can be improved to better serve Pacific people with disabilities. Le Va is carrying out the work for the Ministry of Health.

Le Va national manager Dr Monique Faleafa (photograph attached) says the leadership group members are Pacific people with disabilities living the life they want, or Pacific people who work with or care for people with disabilities. The members are role models and advocates for Pacific people with disabilities and the challenges they face. They will raise awareness of support services available to Pacific people with disabilities.

"Research shows Pacific people don't use disability support services as much as other population groups. Also there are a range of barriers that prevent Pacific people from using services - including lack of culturally responsive services, insufficient information, and Pacific cultural views about disability. We believe the leadership group will make a real difference by getting out and about in Pacific communities, spreading the word about the services available," Dr Faleafa says.

The initiative is part of a range of work underway to improve the quality of support services and resources for Pacific people with disabilities living in New Zealand. Le Va is working with Pacific communities including people with disabilities, their families and carers, health providers and the Ministry of Health on these initiatives.

"The overall goal of Le Va's Pasifika Disability work is to increase the use, and quality, of support services by Pacific people with disabilities to enhance their quality of life," Dr Faleafa says.

Other Pasifika Disability work includes creating new resources specifically for Pacific people with disabilities, supporting services to engage more effectively with Pacific people with disabilities, and building the number and skills of Pacific people working in disability support.

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