Today, 3 December, is International Day of People with Disability. Coffey is committed to providing equal opportunity to those with a disability through ensuring accessible infrastructure, services, information and education.
Our Australia Awards Scholarship programs advocate to all individuals around the globe who are disadvantaged from education opportunities due to remote access, gender, language barriers and disability.
Coffey manages the Australia Awards – Vietnam program on behalf of the Australian Government, which offers post-graduate scholarships to Vietnamese students, giving them the opportunity to contribute to Vietnam’s development by completing their study at an Australian university.
Australia Awards – Vietnam scholar Dao Thu Huong was born with a congenital eye disease, which caused her to lose her sight completely by age 10. In 2015 she graduated with a Master’s degree in International Community Development at Victoria University in Melbourne, and now works as the group leader of Lift You Up, a community based group supporting students with disabilities in inclusive education.
Since graduating from her scholarship and returning to Vietnam Dao Thu Huong and fellow Australia Awards Alumni, Bach Thanh Van are pursuing their dreams of removing information barriers for those with print disabilities by developing the first ever Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Book Production Centre in Vietnam.
DAISY is the internationally recognised print accessibility standard, which is being used in more than 50 countries around the world. Dao Thu Huong hopes that through her group Lift You Up and DAISY Books, people with print disabilities in Vietnam will have more opportunities to study.
Lift You Up is currently in the process of developing materials for high school and university students. Dao Thu Huong also supports Australia Awards candidates with disabilities, encouraging them to overcome their fears and remain confident in their abilities.
“I highly recommend this scholarship for the candidates with disabilities because it can change yourself into a new person, you will see yourself and the people around you differently and more positively, and you have stronger mind, stronger will to realise your dream”, she says.
This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP) and in commemoration of the occasion, the Australian Disability Development Consortium (ADDC) will release one video a day over 13 days. Each features persons with disability who are, or were, engaged in a disability-inclusive development project or initiative.
The event was launched on the 30 November, by Minister for International Development Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Senators Claire Moore and Rachel Siewert. The video series will feature a video of Dao Thu Huong and her story, which will be released over the coming days.
To view the videos, visit the ADDC YouTube channel.