Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

November 25, 2022

We are heading rapidly towards the end of year – the weather is supposedly warming up (though I’m writing this in Wellington, where November is notoriously windy and disappointing) and many of us are dreaming about holidays ahead.

May 26, 2022

Project SEARCH in Canterbury is finding great jobs for disabled school leavers. The challenge now is to share that success with many more young people.

“Interns are out there working in good jobs and above minimum wage and proving what they can do,” says Project SEARCH tutor Linda Leishman, who is guiding her fourth set of interns this year.

May 26, 2022

New Zealand’s minimum wage is $21.20 an hour – but for 900 disabled workers that doesn’t apply. A quarter of them earn between $1 and $2 an hour.

Employers can pay them less than other workers by using an exemption to the minimum wage law. Of the 900 people with the minimum wage exemption (MWE), 70 percent are paid less than $5 an hour and 25 percent less than $2 – before tax.

May 26, 2022

Travel and tourism student Gavin Allpress plans to see more of the world one day and to help other disabled people travel more easily. With strong ambition and support from IHC, he is working on his life plans.

Gavin, 35, uses a wheelchair, and finding accommodation was difficult and expensive in his home town of Auckland. He shifted to Hamilton, but the story was the same.

“It was the housing shortage. There wasn’t any suitable houses or suitable price range for me to live,” he says, Gavin ended up in emergency accommodation in a motel.

May 26, 2022

On a summer day in January, Caitlin Fleming built a large sandcastle on the beach in the remote Te Kainga Bay in Queen Charlotte Sound. She sat in it, looked out across the sea and told a story – “it’s about a beautiful Queen Elizabeth”.

May 26, 2022

Lynda Young-Kennedy knows the gravel roads, the steep tracks and the dead-ends of Southland’s back country better than most people.

She has travelled many thousands of kilometres in her 26 years of asking farmers to donate calves and other stock to the IHC Calf & Rural Scheme.

May 26, 2022

When some old tree ferns were removed from a Mosgiel backyard in November last year, they left behind a bare fence line and empty spaces. That provided a blank canvas for the creative types among the staff and residents at an IDEA Services home.

A garden was waiting to happen at Hagart-Alexander Drive.

Within a few months, the fence was stained, hanging flower baskets were installed and tyres from Beaurepaires were painted and lined to use as planters. Then the plants joined the party.

May 26, 2022

Ninety-nine percent of educational professionals surveyed by IHC want a complete overhaul of the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS), which funds support in the classroom for high-needs students.

IHC asked 600 families/whānau, educators and medical and allied professionals what needed to change in education for disabled students. Their answers form part of the IHC submission to the Ministry of Education’s Highest Needs Review.

May 26, 2022

Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet is the new Patron of IHC, an organisation she committed to long ago when she was asked to judge the IHC Art Awards in 2009.

Her immediate connection with the artists came as a surprise to her. “I had absolutely no idea what an impact not only the art, but also the artists would make on me. They are just the most beautiful people I have ever met,” she said in a 2018 interview.

Dame Denise is now looking forward to expanding her role and making a difference for many more people with intellectual disabilities.

May 26, 2022

The countdown has started for the IHC Art Awards with the naming of this year’s judges.

Actor Libby Hunsdale, artist and sculptor Simon Lewis Wards and Student Volunteer Army CEO Sam Johnson make up our panel of judges for the 2022 IHC Art Awards.

May 26, 2022

It’s hard to avoid discussions about the cost of living now. The Consumer Price Index has just hit its highest level in three decades – it’s costing more and more to fill up our supermarket trolleys, our cars and, quite simply, our family members.