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In celebration of International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we would like to share some of the stories of women in the Afford community who showcase strength, courage and inspire others.

Korina and Aruna are two inspirational women, whose zest for life and drive to achieve their goals under the NDIS has seen them conquer their goal for independent living.

We have many stories of inspirational clients and residents of the Afford community. We are also fortunate to have amazing staff members at Afford who truly go above and beyond to advocate for those in need.

To recognise the many and varied achievements of women on International Women’s Day, here we share Korina, Aruna and Layla’s stories…

Korina – Resident at Afford Woodbine Home

Korina is a confident young woman. She receives support from Afford to manage her epilepsy, but she never lets her disorder get in the way of living life the way she wants.

At 36 years old, Korina has a love of life! She loves to swim and go bowling with her friends. She also has a knack for board games and often plays a winning round. Korina’s Team Leaders describe her as ‘sassy’. She knows what she wants and will work with Afford staff to make her dreams a reality.

Korina knew that she wanted to live independently. For some years she has been attending an Afford Day Program, but really wanted a place where she could chill out and make her own choices.

After working with Afford’s Accommodation team, Korina’s wish came true. She moved into Afford’s Woodbine home and has never looked back.

She gets up every day and does the things she loves. She is confident in what she wants to get involved in and loves getting together with her housemates. Korina goes shopping for her friends and family. She is also quite savvy when it comes to technology and loves catching up on the latest social media updates.

Aruna – Resident at Afford Woodbine Home

Like Korina, Aruna’s journey to independence has been remarkable. As a mature aged resident at the Woodbine home, Aruna wasn’t always confident that she could fit in with the other housemates.

Looking back, there was no reason to worry. Afford matched her with housemates that have similar interests and she can now get on with living her life in the Woodbine home.

Although she requires support to prepare meals from time to time, Aruna lives an independent life. Her two main loves in life are birds and her grandchildren. She adores watching the birds in the trees or visiting the local park to see birds fly around in their natural habitat. With support, Aruna has included a bird bath in the backyard of her Woodbine home, so she can watch and care for the local birds and enjoy their lovely songs.

Her son often comes to visit with his two daughters. Aruna loves showing her grandchildren the things she has created at home and introducing them to the other residents.

Both Korina and Aruna are determined women. They have overcome personal obstacles to grow stronger and more resilient in life. Their journey to independent living has proven that every individual can live the life they want under the NDIS with support.

Layla – Afford’s DES Bankstown Team Leader

Layla has poured an exceptional number of volunteer hours into working with organisations as a representative of Afford to create a voice for people with disability and those in the Iraqi and refugee communities.

Most recently, Layla has been working with Syrian refugees as part of a Fostering Integration Grant provided to Afford. The grant funding allows Afford to provide pre-employment support for refugees and disadvantage people as well as to experience and learn more about Australian culture and to be engaged with their local community. Participants from Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool and Blacktown LGAs have been supported by all Afford’s team leaders and staff to go to places such as the Inspiring Change Conference, Vivid lights Sydney, cruise on Darling Harbour, the Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, The Canberra Floriade and Sydney Zoo.

For around ten years, Layla has served on the board of The Multicultural Network (TMN) and has been pivotal in the establishment of the Zero Barriers project. TMN supports women, those in aged care and people with disability across Western Sydney.

Through her involvement as Vice President with the organisation, Layla has secured many referrals from people within the community for Afford services.

TMN developed the project Zero Barriers, which is an initiative which saw the coming together of organisations across multiple sectors to improve access and inclusion for people with disability. Examples of improvements made include adapted children’s swimming lessons, a petrol station with staff trained to assist drivers with disability, and a restaurant with staff trained in Auslan sign language and providing sensory sensitive dining hours for families with children with autism.

In addition to her role with TMN, Layla has supported, and been an ambassador for Afford, for the Iraqi Cultural Festival for 7 years which is produced by the Iraqi Australian University Graduate Forum (IAUGF). As the face for Afford in the community, Layla supports refugees and new-comers to Australia to connect them community supports. She also helps them engage with their own and other cultures, break through isolation in their new country and foster a positive and supportive image of refugees within the wider Australian community.

These are magnificent achievements for Layla and her teams, and we congratulate her for her efforts to tirelessly represent others in need. She is one of Afford’s shining stars and inspirational women!