Meet Marusha, she is a CREATE Young Consultant who wants to make a change for children and young people around Australia who are living with a disability and who have a care experience. Marusha is one of the seven Young Consultants who have shared their experiences, hopes and dreams as part of CREATE’s new Snap that Stigma video – You are just like us. Marusha has shared some of her own personal achievements and suggestions for how the community can be more inclusive.
Tell us about yourself.
I am 21 years old. I was born in India and placed for adoption when I was eight days old. I was adopted by an Australia family when I was five months old. Unfortunately at aged three, I was diagnosed with severe Cerebral Palsy. With associated deafness, vision and speech impairment. My adoptive family lived on the land in remote NSW and access to the services that I required was difficult. At age four, my family decided to relinquish me and there started my journey into foster care. I was fortunate to be able to live and continue to live with a foster carer Jenny, who was a family friend.
I am a teacher, designer, writer. I am also a National Boccia Junior champion (a Para Olympic sport) and a surfer.
What are some examples of stigma and barriers you have faced?
The main barriers I faced were at school, I was often discriminated against. I was not allowed to sleep with my peers on camps. I was often told “NO” you can’t do it. Teachers often didn’t look outside the square. My wheelchair was often a barrier even to simple things like accessing the school stage. Some teachers were positive and believed in me and I will be always grateful for their encouragement. I was also totally reliant on others for my care so friends especially in high school were reluctant to ask me out.
What are some of your strengths and achievements?
I feel my greatest strength is my resilience and my ability to look positively at my disability. My biggest achievement is getting my dream job as a Early Childhood Educator and proving all those doubters wrong. To be given the opportunity by people along the way, like CREATE, to be able to share my story. To show others that there is always something to look forward to in life. Never give up hope and try your best. To be a good role model.
How do you think people can be more inclusive?
Be accepting of all. Become a friend to someone who may look or act differently it could mean a wonderful friendship. If you work or own a business look at person with a disability for the job. Often people with a disability are more reliable and motivated. To never judge someone by their looks or their disability. Treat a person with a disability age appropriately.
To check out Marusha in the brand new CREATE Snap that Stigma video, follow the link below: