By Colin MacGillivray
WALLAN man Adam Georgelin is hoping that a new online directory and associated forum will bring together people with disabilities from Mitchell Shire and beyond.
Mr. Georgelin, who was born with a spinal cord defect and spends most of his time in a wheelchair, created the N’able’d directory to promote businesses that provide access for people with disabilities.
âI have a number of local businesses that have listed on the local directory where they can advertise for people with disabilities,â he said.
âThe business can advertise their name, location, and phone number, and I have a section for people looking to advertise more in depth where they can advertise their website and that sort of thing.
âI’m also looking at promoting them in other ways, whether it’s business for services, and then I can review them and let people know that they’re definitely accessible.
âIn the past, companies have told me they are wheelchair accessible and they just aren’t. One company told me it was wheelchair accessible because it only had one step to get in, but if you are in a wheelchair, one step can make it completely inaccessible.
Mr. Georgelin won the Mitchell Shire Council Access and Inclusion Champion during Australia Day celebrations in January.
The longtime disability advocate won the award after pushing his wheelchair the full length of the Great Victorian Rail Trail to raise money for Disabled Sports and Recreation and the Robert Rose Foundation.
Mr Georgelin said he was inspired to create a directory, as well as an online forum to connect people with disabilities, after being frustrated by the lack of awareness among the general public of the daily issues that many people face. with disabilities.
âWhen I was young, organizations like Yooralla and others were advertised and promotedâ¦ but for quite a long time there was nothing for people with disabilities to connect to meet other people like them,â he said. he declared.
âIt’s the backbone of this website.
âI have a Facebook page linked to it and I hope to create an online community so that people not only in the Mitchell Shire but in the community as a whole can live together and share their experiences with businesses, with organizations, with restaurants and even hospitals.
Mr Georgelin said he hoped to bring disability awareness and conversations into the public consciousness.
âDisability has always been a taboo subject for me. People don’t understand it, so they’re afraid of it. Because they don’t understand it, they don’t know the questions to ask, âhe said.
âA lot of people with disabilities are happy to talk about their disability, but I know that a lot of people who don’t have a disability don’t know how to approach it.
âWhat I’m trying to do with this website and the Facebook page is to make it a less hidden subject.
âIt’s a safe place where people can talk about their disability without feeling like they’re being judged, or people who don’t have a disability can actually come and learn more from the other side. “
Mr Georgelin said he wanted to build on the momentum of the recent Paralympic Games, after the federal government agreed to pay the same bonuses to Australian Paralympic medalists as their Olympic counterparts.
âLately in the community we’ve had the Black Lives Matter movement and the [Me Too] movement against sexual harassment, but there has never really been a movement for people with disabilities. It’s always been a topic people don’t want to talk about, âhe said.
âIn Australia alone, 4.4 million people are recognized as having a disability. With 26 million people in Australia, it’s almost a fifth of the population, but the government keeps saying it’s not a priority topic. He must be.
âEvery four years when the Paralympic Games are held it becomes a hot topic, then it goes away and in six months no one is talking about it.
“I really hope the momentum continues because I feel like people with disabilities have been left behind.”
People can check out Mr. Georgelin’s directory online at nabled.com.au and the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/1493132704082854.