Not a day goes by that Toowoomba resident Waseem isn’t grateful for the supports of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Carers Queensland.
“My life is so much better now that I have NDIS support, I am so grateful for the supports and help it’s given me,” Waseem said.
“I can’t tell you what it means to have the support of so many people, my life was quite terrible and lonely.
“But now thanks to Carers Queensland, and to Pam who works there, things are much better.”
The 55-year-old, who lives with Schizophrenia and a physical disability, moved from Pakistan in the 1990s to make a better life for himself in Australia.
He lived and worked in Sydney for about 15 years, but after a workplace incident, Waseem’s physical and mental health went downhill.
Waseem moved to the Darling Downs area about 10 years ago after a friend told him that smaller regional towns were more affordable and may offer him a better lifestyle.
With no family or friends in the Toowoomba area, Waseem said before he got NDIS supports, he found it incredibly difficult to leave the house and rarely attended outdoor activities.
Waseem felt isolated and was not very active in the local community, which made his mental health condition worse.
But this all changed in 2017 once the NDIS rolled out in the Toowoomba region and Carers Queensland supported Waseem to access and implement his NDIS funding.
Supports were put in place to help Waseem become more active and independent. Now NDIS-funded support workers visit him 3 to 4 days a week and help him get out into the community and undertake daily chores and attend appointments.
“I feel so lucky to have NDIS,” Waseem said. “I’m also now on the right medication which helps me a great deal too.”
Waseem also uses his NDIS funds to access a psychologist and physiotherapist.
NDIS-funded supports have also helped Waseem to grow his independence so he can visit the supermarket and local shops. His music collection is growing thanks to regular visits to second-hand shops.
“I listen to music a lot and it helps a lot because if it’s quiet I start hearing voices, so I have the radio on or I listen to CDs. I have Faith Hill on this morning, I love Faith Hill,” Waseem said.
“My life is so much happier now because of the NDIS.”
Earlier this year Waseem was able to attend Toowoomba’s Harmony Day celebrations with Petria, his psycho-social recovery coach, who is funded through Waseem’s NDIS plan.
“Working alongside Waseem in his recovery journey I have seen him increase his confidence in himself. He has a good understanding of his mental health using his plan to visit his psychologist,” Petria said.
“Where I have taken great joy from is seeing his network of friends have increased. Waseem now attends cultural days and he has new friends in his chosen mainstream groups.
“He visits a cultural goodies shop and has made friends through that, and he likes cricket and has been introduced to a local cricket club.
“Waseem has always been a very polite and gentle man. The difference I see is that happiness shines through when I see him, he can’t wait to tell me what he has been doing.
“I am not sure that I agree with him when he cheers on the Pakistani cricket team when I cheer on the Australian team. We always have a great laugh at this.
“He tells me all the time how the NDIS has allowed him to connect with others and what a more included life he has due to NDIS supports.”
Carers Queensland Toowoomba-based Local Area Coordinator Pamela has spent a lot of time with Waseem over the past few years.
“Waseem is a very generous person who regularly visit our Toowoomba office to thank us for all that we do to support him,” she said.
“He’s a blessing to the office and is so appreciative of the support he gets; the whole team gets the benefits of Waseem’s joy and exuberance.”
Pamela said the NDIS supports Waseem received were “absolutely vital for his survival”.
“It’s so important that he has stability of routine and supports in place, particularly because Waseem’s family live so far away,” Pamela said.
“As a person who is potentially vulnerable in society, it’s important supports are in place to keep him safe.
“NDIS supports are helping to reduce Waseem’s loneliness and helping to improve his mental health, allowing him to finally be able to re-join and relate to the society he lives in.
“Without these, he would go back to feeling alone in this world and his mental health would deteriorate.”
Waseem said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his newfound friends and taking part in more multi-cultural events.
“I now have a lot of things to look forward to and I am very happy about that,” he said.
Carers Queensland is working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to help them learn more about the NDIS and eligibility criteria.
Carers Queensland is also working to help people from multicultural backgrounds who aren’t eligible for the NDIS to identify and link to options for support in their local communities.
You can contact with Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, email@example.com, or sign up to our LAC Connect app here.