Note: Ruth Gerzon no longer facilitates this course. However her course materials, handouts and timetables are available free to anyone else who might wish to do this.
Building Inclusive Communities
This course explores the strategies needed to build welcoming and inclusive communities that actively engage with people with disabilities. It was developed and is facilitated by Ruth Gerzon, who has many years of experience in building community in the disability sector.
It focuses on community building practices, supporting senior staff to develop new relationships outside the disability sector, with mainstream, iwi and ethnic communities, government organisations and the business sector.
It includes both workshop days and guided practice as staff develop long term partnerships with other organisations, extending a disability service's reach and influence in surrounding communities.
The intentional partnerships support many people to participate in communities in a variety of ways over a number of years.
The course is based on the following principles of a community building approach in disability services.
A rich and valued life within communities contributes to people’s well-being; and the inclusion of people with disabilities enriches communities.
Partnerships between individuals, communities, iwi and service providers and the business sector ensure people with disabilities can partake in, and contribute to, their communities of choice.
Leadership by people with disabilities enables them to take up valued roles and lessens the stigma and discrimination they face in community settings.
Community building strategies need to recognize and respect the aspirations, rights and needs of Maori and all cultural groups, in ways that support their identity, beliefs, values and practices.