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Video Transcript

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Building better lives

(Voice over in italics)

I feel I am fighting for the rights of young people with disability.

Because we’re people too.

Young people with disability should have the right to lead the life they want to, and have a choice of where they live. As an ambassador for Building Better Lives, 27-year-old Anj Barker shares her story and campaigns to help them from being forced into nursing homes.

It’s important that I speak to people because...

... I mean they can see that I do actually know what I’m saying.

At 16, a brutal assault by her ex-boyfriend lead to a traumatic brain injury. Anj spent eight weeks in hospital, four months in rehab and over two years in a nursing home with people at least 50 years older than her.

I was only a 17 year old girl in a nursing home, I mean how does that make sense to anyone?

I felt like I had no privacy or dignity.

Once I was hoisted into a shower bed, stripped naked and left laying there.

It gives me a great sense of shame and disgust.

There are about 3500 people under 60 living in nursing homes in Australia. 82 per cent never visit their friends, 13 per cent hardly go outside. Building Better Lives aims to raise awareness of the issue, keep it on the political agenda and raise funds to build flexible housing models.

Michelle spent over a year living in a nursing home, as a Building Better Lives ambassador, she shares her experience to stop other people from having to go through what she did. 

Three days after her 19th birthday Michelle had an asthma attack which left her brain starved of oxygen for over 10 minutes.

She had to relearn to walk, talk, eat and function.

It does make me very sad to think I was living in a place just like this.

I could never imagine having to live in a nursing home again...

...just really lonely.

The Disability Discrimination Act aims to ensure that people with disability have equal rights, but in the case of Anj and Michelle, it just doesn’t do enough. Both believe that with appropriate facilities they agree their recovery would have been quicker.

They want to ensure that young people like them have the options to rehabilitation, easier access to funding and an alternative to nursing homes.

There needs to be appropriate facilities opening up for rehab.

Making people want to live and get better.

I feel I’m doing my bit to help change the world...

...or at least Australia.