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‘People Are Gifts’ – A Two-year Disability Awareness Programme

Two years of work about young people with disabilities has resulted in St. Paul’s Vinnies publishing a book. People are gifts features the profiles of eight young people with disabilities such as hearing and vision impairment, cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and dyslexia. The book is filled with easy to read information for young people and their peers to understand, and lists of organisations and websites that parents, teachers and the community can refer too. 

The St. Paul’s Vinnies were fortunate to have the support of organisations that cater for young people with disabilities, and charitable trusts in the Nelson/Tasman area who provided information and photos about their services for the book. As well as publishing their book, the St. Paul’s Vinnies have done a variety of activities to assist and learn from people who have disabilities.

These activities have included:

  • putting together a week-long interactive display about ‘Disability Awareness’ that all classes in the school and the wider community could participate in;
  • putting on an exhibition of paper mâché creations, paintings and sewing made by people with disabilities from Community Art Works, Nelson;
  • buddying up with young people with disabilities and their caregivers to go canoeing;
  • creating musical instruments for a preschool group of children with disabilities;
  • making hand-painted fabric cushions for a respite home;
  • having a variety of guest speakers come to share their experience of having a disability or working with people who have disabilities;
  • creating a tactile book for young people and parents who are blind or visually impaired, which was donated to the Nelson Blind Foundation.

The work the St. Paul’s Vinnies put together for the school display, went up on the walls of the Parent to Parent office, Nelson. As the result of funding from the Tasman District Council Creative Communities Scheme, the Respect All People Project and sponsorship through Copy Press (a local publishing business) this wonderful work was able to be published in book form. People are Gifts is a book that celebrates what people with disabilities are able to achieve. 

To find out more information, please contact philippa@svdp-vinnies.org.nz, or (03) 544 1973 or  www.svdp-vinnies.org.nz to see information about this project as it has unfolded over the past two years.



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