“One day a group of children participating in music time all lay on their stomachs, as one of their friends had recently had a hip operation and this was the only position he could be placed in,” says Business Services Manager, Jo Kernot.
“On another occasion, a child’s orthotics went missing, and it turned out that one of his friends had taken it home because they wanted to be just like him,” says Jo.
Mikarie Child Care Centre is an inclusive long day care centre that provides early education and quality care for children with and without disability in one setting. In October 2018, Mikarie won the Building Inclusion Award at the 2018 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.
Sylvanvale Catering and Birdcage Café employs 15 supported employees with disability, and people of all abilities are actively encouraged to patron the café. Last year it underwent structural improvements to make the premises more accessible, thanks to a Community Building Partnership Program Grant. Its supported employees regularly go out into the community making deliveries – and sometimes even host an impromptu magic show for lucky customers.
So what is inclusion and why is it so important?
“Inclusion is about people being able to participate in society. It is about creating conditions where all people have the best opportunities to enjoy life and do well in whatever they choose. And it’s about making sure that no one is left out,” says Jo.
What’s more, inclusion doesn’t just benefit people with disability.
“Inclusion benefits everyone and makes us all better,” says Jo. “A world where everyone is accepted and included is a better world for all of us,” she says.
Inclusion makes good business sense too. With 38% of Australian households including a family member with disability, inclusion of people with disability represents a substantial opportunity for businesses.
“If people only want to look at inclusion from a purely commercial perspective, it still makes sense,” says Jo.
Find out more about Sylvanvale Catering here.