''My name is Jemima MacDonald and I coordinate the uni 2 beyond initiative at the Centre for Disability Studies. uni 2 beyond is an initiative that enables adults with an intellectual disability to participate in university life at the university of Sydney. My journey with uni 2 beyond began 4 years ago. At the time I was studying a masters in Developmental Disability and I was attending a conference in the city. I saw the Centre for Disability Studies had a stall and I approached them.
I told them I was interested in volunteering my time and that I was interested in inclusion, education and human rights. The team then told me all about uni 2 beyond. I am so glad they did because this is when my life changed. After this, I became a volunteer for the initiative. I would volunteer my time to support adults with an intellectual disability in lectures and tutorials, as well as supporting them to engage with university social life. I loved it so much I applied for a job, now 4 years later, I coordinate 11 students, 45 student mentors, and engage with over 25 university lecturers. Being someone who has spent 6 years studying at university, I hate to think that others do not get the same experience, purely because they may have an intellectual disability such as autism, or down syndrome. With my job, I love being included in a community where everyone feels like they belong.
I love the idea of the Creating Futures crowd funding campaign, because not only is it helping us to continue and grow this initiative, it is helping us spread the word about what we are doing. uni 2 beyond is one of only 2 initiatives in Australia, and the only one that has an internship component for its students. Some exciting news I would love to share is that we have recently been selected as a finalist for the International Day of People with Disability, 2017 National Disability Award- so, watch this space to see how we go and let’s hope we win! I would love for uni 2 beyond to spread throughout Australia, and raising awareness through crowd funding will help get the word out about this.''
Learn more about this awesome cause on their crowdfunding campaign page: