I have been lucky enough to have done this job for a few years now and alongside hanging the Christmas decorations and planning a bit of a break, I love looking back at the great things that have happened over the year.
I love the individual stories – some feature in this magazine and many others are shared on social media and in newsletters. It’s those personal stories that show the impact of what we do.
This year we launched IHC Media and it’s great to see so many people joining the online sessions and self-advocacy forums. People also tell us that they are enjoying the online learning modules and some have contacted Te Kura (formerly the Correspondence School) to pursue some more study and learning. Our advisory group, who are users of the site, provide us with feedback to make sure we are developing and making changes in line with what people want.
But if you haven’t seen it yet – please check out the Voices section of IHC Media – ihcmedia.org.nz/voices. This is where people get to share and publish what they have been working on or are interested in. Indika reads stories illustrated and animated by his older brother Sasanka; Emily shows us how to do all sorts of useful things in her How to Emily videos; Chardonnay teaches us how to make a pompom sheep; Eddie, Scott and Ben have shared photos taken for Shayne’s online Happy Snappers session and much more. We also have videos from the amazing IDEA Services kapa haka festivals held around the country and you can learn more about the great IHC Stand Tall app and game that teaches about managing money.
Sharing individual experiences is essential to one of the core things that we do – challenging people’s perceptions and growing knowledge and understanding. But it’s having the evidence and standing together that leads to societal change and influence. This year our Advocacy team has commissioned an extraordinary piece of work with Kōtātā Insight combining statistical data with lived experience. And the data is available for all of us with a new IHC app. For example, the research shows that people with intellectual disabilities are more likely to have coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Please read more about this important work on page 7.
I’d like to pay tribute to all our staff who will be working over the holiday period. We have a fantastic team. I hope that whether you are working or not, or celebrating Christmas or not, that you can enjoy the warmer months and celebrate all the good things about 2023.
Meri Kirihimete, Merry Christmas and all the best for the year ahead.
Editor, Strong Voices